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Social Content Sheet

Abridged Version of the Standards for Evaluation of Instructional Materials with Respect to Social Content, 2013 Edition.

Citations can be issued using the following standards (please cite the letter and number (e.g. A-1) on the Citation Form):

  1. Male and Female Roles–E.C. 50501, 60040(a), 60044(a)
    1. Adverse reflection. Descriptions, depictions, labels, or rejoinders that tend to demean, stereotype, or patronize males or females because of their sex must not appear.
    2. Equal portrayal. Instructional materials containing references to, or illustrations of, people must refer to or illustrate both sexes approximately evenly, in both number and degree of importance, except as limited by accuracy or special purpose.
    3. Occupations. If professional or executive occupations, parenting, trades, or other gainful employment is portrayed, men and women should be represented equally.
    4. Achievements. Whenever instructional material presents developments in history or current events or achievements in art, science, or any other field, the contributions of women and men should be represented in approximately equal numbers.
    5. Mental and physical activities. An approximately equal number of male and female characters should be depicted in roles in which they are being mentally and physically active, being creative, solving problems, and experiencing success and failure in those roles.
    6. Traditional and nontraditional activities. The number of traditional and nontraditional activities engaged in by characters of both sexes should be approximately even.
    7. Emotions. A range of emotions (e.g., fear, anger, tenderness) should be depicted as being experienced by male and female characters.
    8. Gender-neutral language. Such general terms as people, men and women, pioneers, and they should be used to avoid the apparent exclusion of females or males.
    9. Parenting activities. Both sexes should be portrayed in nurturing roles with their families. The responsibility of parenting should be emphasized.

  2. Ethnic and Cultural Groups–E.C. 50501, 60040(b), 60044(a)
    1. Adverse reflection. Descriptions, depictions, labels, or rejoinders that tend to demean, stereotype, or patronize minority groups are prohibited.
    2. Proportion of portrayals. Instructional materials containing references to, or illustrations of, people must portray accurately, to the extent possible, the roles and contributions of a fair proportion of diverse ethnic groups, especially those groups referenced in the statute (Section 60040 [b]).
    3. Customs and lifestyles. When ethnic or cultural groups are portrayed, portrayals must not depict differences in customs or lifestyles as undesirable and must not reflect adversely on such differences.
    4. Occupations. If professional or executive roles, trade jobs, or other gainful occupations are portrayed, majority and minority groups should be presented therein in fair proportion.
    5. Socioeconomic settings. Minority persons should be depicted in the same range of socioeconomic settings as are persons of the majority group.
    6. Achievements. Whenever developments in history or current events, or achievements in art, science, or other fields, are presented, the contributions of minority persons, particularly prominent minority persons, should be included and discussed when it is historically accurate to do so.
    7. Mental and physical activities. Majority and minority group characters should be depicted in fair proportion in roles in which they are being mentally and physically active, being creative, solving problems, and experiencing success and failure in those roles.
    8. Traditional and nontraditional activities. The portrayal of minority characters engaged in activities that have traditionally been viewed as typical of their culture should be balanced by portrayal of such characters engaged in other less traditionally recognized activities.
    9. Root culture. Depiction of diverse ethnic and cultural groups should not be limited to the groups’ root cultures (traditional activities associated with ancestral culture) but, rather, must include such groups in the mainstream of U.S. life and identify them as Americans.

  3. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity– E.C. 50501, 60040(b), and 60044(a)
    1. Adverse reflection. Descriptions, depictions, labels, or rejoinders that tend to demean, stereotype, or patronize individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity must not appear.
    2. Achievements. Whenever developments in history or current events, or achievements in art, science, or other fields, are presented, the contributions of persons of gay, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, or transgender persons, particularly prominent persons, should be included and discussed when it is historically accurate to do so.
    3. Proportion of portrayals. Instructional materials containing references to, or illustrations of, people must portray accurately, to the extent possible, the roles and contributions of a fair proportion of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.
    4. Roles. The presentation of persons of gay, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, or transgender identity, in instructional materials should not be significantly different from the portrayal of people of other sexual orientations and gender identities.
    5. Emotions. Materials should not convey the impression that persons of gay, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, or transgender identity, are any different from other people in their emotions or their ability to love and be loved.
    6. Socioeconomic settings. Persons of gay, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, or transgender identity, should be depicted in the same range of socio-economic settings as are people of other sexual orientations and gender identities.

  4. Older Persons and the Aging Process–State Board of Education Policy, July 12, 1979
    1. Adverse reflection. Descriptions, depictions, labels, or rejoinders that tend to demean, stereotype, or patronize older persons are prohibited.
    2. Proportion of portrayals. Instructional materials containing references to, or illustrations of, usual human activities must include older persons except as limited by accuracy or special purpose.
    3. Roles. The presentation of older persons in instructional materials should not be significantly different from the portrayal of people of other age groups except as is necessary to identify them as older persons.
    4. Aging process. When appropriate, the aging process should be pictured as a continuous process spanning an entire lifetime.

  5. People with Disabilities– E.C. 50501, 60040(b), 60044(a)
    1. Adverse reflection. Descriptions, depictions, labels, or rejoinders that tend to demean, stereotype, or patronize disabled persons are prohibited.
    2. Proportion of portrayals. Instructional materials that depict a broad range of human activities must include some representations of people with disabilities except as limited by special purpose or the need for accuracy.
    3. Roles. The presentation of people with disabilities in instructional materials should not be significantly different from the portrayal of nondisabled persons except as is necessary to identify them as people with disabilities.
    4. Emotions. Materials should not convey the impression that people with disabilities are any different from other people in their emotions or their ability to love and be loved.
    5. Achievements. When developments in history or current events or achievements in art, science, or any other field are presented, the contributions of people with disabilities must be included when it is appropriate and historically accurate to do so.

  6. Entrepreneur and Labor–E.C. 60040(c), 60044(a)
    1. Adverse reflection. References or labels that tend to demean, stereotype, or patronize any persons engaged in any particular occupation or vocation, whether essentially entrepreneur, management, or labor, are prohibited.
    2. Roles. Accurate reference should be made to the role and contribution of the entrepreneur and labor in the total development of California and the United States.

  7. Religion–E.C. 50501, 60044(a) and Subsection (b)
    1. Adverse reflection. No religious belief or practice may be held up to ridicule and no religious group may be portrayed as inferior.
    2. Indoctrination. Any explanation or description of a religious belief or practice should be presented in a manner that does not encourage or discourage belief or indoctrinate the student in any particular religious belief.
    3. Diversity. When religion is discussed or depicted, portrayals of contemporary American society should reflect religious diversity.

  8. Ecology and the Environment–E.C. 60041(a)
    1. Ecology. The interdependence of people and their environment should be represented.
    2. Environmental protection. People’s responsibilities for creating and protecting a healthy environment should be emphasized.
    3. Resource use. Wise use of natural resources should be encouraged. Instructional materials should never depict, encourage, or condone waste of resources except as necessary to illustrate a point.

  9. Dangerous Substances–E.C. 60041(b)
    1. Discouragement of use. The use of tobacco, alcohol, narcotics, or restricted dangerous drugs, except as prescribed by a physician, must not be glamorized or encouraged by illustrations or text.
    2. Hazards of use. When references to, or illustrations of, the use of substances are included in other than an incidental manner, such as a passing reference to a character taking cough medicine or a classic short story referring to “father’s pipe,” the hazards of such use should be depicted or pointed out.

  10. Thrift, Fire Prevention, and Humane Treatment of Animals and People–E.C. 60042
    1. Waste. Waste must not be encouraged or glamorized.
    2. Fire hazards. Unsafe practices and situations that constitute fire hazards must not be depicted (except for clarifying a point), condoned, or encouraged.
    3. Inhumane treatment. Physical abuse of adults or children or violence against, or other inhumane or depraved treatment of, animals or people must not be depicted (except for clarifying a point), condoned, or encouraged.
    4. Thrift. The practice of thrift should be encouraged through illustrations or text or both.
    5. Fire prevention. Methods of fire prevention and fire safety rules in general should be explained and the use of such methods and rules encouraged through illustrations or text or both.
    6. Humane treatment. Humane treatment of people and animals should be encouraged through illustrations and text. However, inhumane treatment that occurred in history (such as historical references to slavery or the Holocaust) should not be omitted or glossed over but should be depicted when it is appropriate to do so.

  11. Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States–E.C. 60043

    The standards apply only to instructional materials for social science, history, or civics classes.

    1. The Declaration of Independence should be presented.
    2. The United States Constitution should be included.

  12. Brand Names and Corporate Logos–E.C. 60048 and 60200, State Board of Education “Guidelines,” January 13, 2000
    1. Use of any such depictions. Instructional materials shall not contain illustrations of any identifiable commercial brand names, products, or corporate or company logos unless such illustrations are necessary to the educational purpose of the instructional material and that purpose cannot be achieved without using such illustrations, or unless such illustrations are incidental to a scene of a general nature (example: Times Square, New York City).
    2. Prominent use of any one depiction. These exceptions aside, if a brand name, representation, or company logo is illustrated, prominence shall not be given to any one brand or company unless, in turn, such illustration is necessary to the educational purpose of the instructional material and that purpose cannot be achieved without using such illustration (example: a Coca Cola sign in a foreign country, demonstrating the social influence of American corporations abroad).
Questions:   Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division | CFIRD@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0881
Last Reviewed: Monday, August 21, 2017
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