Support AB 331 (Ethnic Studies)

As a community organization that is founded on the guiding tenets and inspirations of building civic leadership through cultural and ethnic education, LEAD Filipino has legacy positions of supporting, advocating for, and dedicating organizational resources to advancing Ethnic Studies in California.

Three years ago, we collected and submitted support letters to California Governor Brown to pass Assembly Bill 2016, which he signed into law in late-2016. A huge victory for our shared advocacy partners, AB 2016 funded the development of an Ethnic Studies curriculum to be made available as an elective to California public high school social science teachers that could want to teach the course. Note that under AB 2016, Ethnic Studies is still an elective and not a requirement.

AB 2016 resulted in a statewide coalition of educators and academics that have worked collaboratively with the California Department of Education to construct a curriculum based on critical pedagogy that represents the untold stories, histories, and experiences of ethnic minority communities in California. The Ethnic Studies curriculum should now be available for instructors with an interest in teaching this elective to their students.

LEAD Filipino Supports AB 331

Building on the momentum and need to teach cultural pedagogy that reflects the diversity of California’s 39 million population, AB 331 would fund a pilot program across 11 school districts, with the intention of mandating Ethnic Studies as a high school graduation requirement by 2024.

The combination of the head and heart – California is the state of the majority minority. In a heterogenous state that benefits from our rich multiculturalism and multiethnic communities, we support the movement toward updating public instruction to include the historic contributions, struggles, and successes of minority communities whose roles are currently diffuse across scarce literature and diminished in our system’s textbooks, discourse, and coursework.

The status quo is that, in our K-12 public system, U.S. and world history is taught from a Euro-centric perspective. We combine our heads and hearts in our outlook on this current reality and future opportunity. Hear us out on our perspective and position:

Our globalized society that has sanctioned mass immigration – which we see evident in our workplaces and hence, our workforce; through this prism, national conversations celebrate diversity in the name of labor, skilled workers, and competition (by way of profits). We ask you to consider the moral imperative of supporting a diverse population in another key public sphere: our public education system. California particularly, celebrates a workforce that is 76% foreign born. In a majority-minority state, the time to revisit our educational system’s values – defined by core instructional content and coursework – in exposing our students’ hearts and minds to wider and deeper views of our country and world’s history is now.

Growing evidence supports that, from self-efficacy and motivated behavior frameworks (Eccles, 2006; Schraw & Lehman, 2006), students construct identity based on meaning, beliefs, perceptions and attitudes (Bandura, 2001). Cue positive images and convictions of achievement, where strong corollaries have been tied to cultural pedagogy and vicarious learning of minority communities seeing their stories uplifted in the same regard as high-achieving, high-performing, leaders with social mobility across all public contexts.

From the head and heart perspective, we support AB 331 and are currently collecting support letters from any of our members, families, or students that share the belief in supporting the passage of this bill. Read more about AB 331 here.

If you would like to submit a short statement for why you support AB 331, to be shared with elected leaders in Sacramento at the Filipino Advocacy Day on April 30th, please submit here.

In community,

Angelica Cortez
LEAD Filipino

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