LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A bill which would have required all high school students in California to take an ethnic studies course was vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday.
The governor announced that he had vetoed Assembly Bill 331 because of concerns over issues surrounding the ethnic studies curriculum. The bill had easily passed both the state Senate and Assembly.
AB-331 would have required all schools, including charter schools, to offer at least one ethnic studies course by the 2025-26 school year, and all students beginning with the 2029-30 graduating class to have taken such a course.
In a letter to the Assembly Wednesday explaining his reasoning, Newsom noted that in August he had signed into law Assembly Bill 1460, which will require that all students in the California State University system take an ethnic studies class. However, he believes there are still major questions specifically around the content of the ethnic studies model curriculum for K-12 schools.
“This bill, however, would require ethnic studies be taught in high school at a time when there is much uncertainty about the appropriate K-12 model curriculum for ethnic studies,” Newsom wrote.
“Last year, I expressed concern that the initial draft of the model curriculum was insufficiently balanced and inclusive and needed to be substantially amended,” he added.
Democratic Assemblyman Jose Medina of Riverside, one of the co-authors of the bill, issued a scathing rebuke of the veto, calling it “a failure to push back against the racial rhetoric and bullying of Donald Trump.”
“This veto comes at a time when the Trump administration is threatening to punish school districts for teaching anti-racism and anti-bias curriculum,” Medina wrote in a statement.
In August, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board passed a similar resolution which will require all high school students to take at least one ethnic studies course beginning in 2023-2024.