News Topic

Advocacy, Departments & Institutions, History Education


State & Local (US)


United States

On February 28, upon request from faculty members at CSU, AHA leadership alerted members and other historians in California to a new plan at California State University, the nation’s largest university, to cut core requirements for U.S. history and civics courses. The Association urges our community to contact Governor Newsom and other state legislators and implore them to reject this proposal put forth by the CSU General Education Task Force.

On March 4, 2019, AHA members on the faculty of the California State University sent the American Historical Association the following message:

Last week the AHA sent a message to California residents in its database that began as follows: “The California State University, the nation’s largest university, has proposed to eliminate the system’s founding commitment to the “comprehensive study of American history and American government” as the basis for its long-standing “American Institutions” requirement.” Apparently there is some disagreement as to the connotation invoked by the subject of that sentence, and the precision of the verb.

The Office of the Chancellor at CSU asks us to inform our constituency that:

“The document that has been shared is the work of a subset of members of the Academic Senate of the CSU. The group was convened by the ASCSU. It is important to note that neither the task force nor the report was commissioned by the CSU Office of the Chancellor or the Chancellor, colloquially referred to as ‘the CSU.’ At this point the report is simply a series of proposals related to general education to be reviewed by the ASCSU at a later date. It is not being considered by the CSU and has not even been officially received by the CSU.”

History faculty at CSU who requested that the AHA distribute this alert respond as follows:

CSU historians appreciate the Office of the Chancellor’s effort to clarify the origins and review of the recent General Education Task Force proposal, although faculty have rightful concerns about process and legitimacy. Because the recommended changes are profound for community colleges and K-12 schools across California, we consider it imperative for those who care about history education to know about the proposal now. We urge friends of history and civic education to contact their public officials and ask them to help us preserve the comprehensive study of American history and American government as the basis for civic education in California.