By Jojo Kofman and Shady Gonzales
SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Asian American and Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus (AAPILC) has voiced its official opposition to SB 1363, a bill to educate students about Asian American and Pacific Islander history.
Following significant advocacy promoting the histories of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) in public education in the past few years, the AAPILC has and continues to demand that effective and substantial changes be made to the California education curriculum.
Although sponsored by the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association, AAPILC feels that SB 1363 creates no meaningful change in the education system because it only “encourages” the integration of Asian American and Pacific Islanders into curriculum within California schools.
AAPILC clarified the bill does not require any schools in California to teach AAPI studies, and, despite bill supporters’ claims, it does not provide any funding for educators or curricula to implement AAPI studies into the classroom.
As noted by the caucus, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut are three states that require AAPI studies to be included in the public school curriculum. However, SB 1363 differs from these examples, said AAPILC, because it lacks any form of substantive action.
“The AAPI community deserves more than symbolism,” stated Dr. Richard Pan, the chair of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Legislative Caucus.
The sponsors of SB 1363 have repeatedly refused to partner with the caucus in their effort to bring critical history to the social studies curriculum in California schools.
During the spike in hate crimes against the Asian American community after former Pres. Trump’s hateful rhetoric, the AAPILC was able to pass a record budget that aided the community and promoted its needs and lives on a widespread scale.
AAPILC has significantly expanded Asian American and Pacific Islander history within public education. Their main advocacy focus has been to require social studies lesson regarding Vietnamese refugees and the Cambodian genocide.
In news report, the AAPI community feels they deserve real action in order to truly make the history of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities seen.
Following the vote on SB 1363, Sen. Pan stated, “the bill should mandate the AAPI history curriculum.” The senator, who is also the Chairman of the AAPI Caucus, reiterated the concern community members had with the bills’ ability to enact change.
As of June 6, 2022, SB 1363 has been amended in the California Assembly following its approval by the California Senate. It’s awaiting the governor’s signature.