Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

May is Labor History and Safe Jobs for Youth Month

California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
March 21, 2014

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:

MAY IS LABOR HISTORY AND SAFE JOBS FOR YOUTH MONTH

This is an important time for educators to promote Common Core standards and critical thinking skills that will help prepare students to understand and actively participate in the world of work.

May is Labor History Month. Enacted by legislation in 2002, and amended in 2012 to cover the full month of May, Education Code (EC) Section 51009 encourages schools “ . . . to commemorate this month with appropriate educational exercises that make pupils aware of the role the labor movement has played in shaping California and the United States.”

Labor Code (LC) Section 6359 establishes a statewide young worker health and safety resource network to “…coordinate and augment existing outreach and education efforts and provide technical assistance, education materials and other support to schools, job training programs, employers and other organizations working to education students and their communities about workplace health and safety and child labor laws.” This network these efforts during Safe Jobs for Youth Month.

I am pleased to join John A. Pérez, Speaker of the State Assembly; the California Partnership for Young Worker Health and Safety; the California Federation of Teachers; the California Teachers Association; the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO; the State Building and Construction Trades Council; and other members of the Speaker’s Commission on Labor Education, to encourage the State’s public schools to participate in this educational effort.

Labor History Month

A growing number of Web sites have teaching and learning resources about the historical achievements of the labor movement, including those listed below. Please disseminate this information as widely as possible.

  • http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/LaborEducation/ The Speaker's Commission on Labor Education's Web site gives educators up-to-date information and resources about labor education and labor history in California [Note: this Web site is no longer valid].
  • http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/ The State Board of Education approved Content Standards in History-Social Studies make multiple references to labor or unions. EC Section 60040(c) also calls for study of “The role and contributions of the entrepreneur and labor in the total development of California and the United States.”
  • http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/publications/index.shtml Work, Money and Power: Unions in the 21st Century is a 24-page pamphlet from the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Labor Research and Education, explaining what unions are and do, including an overview of labor history. It is a California Department of Education approved supplementary history/social science text.
  • http://www.cft.org/member-services/labor-education/golden-lands,-working-hands.html The California Federation of Teachers Web site features an award winning ten-part video series on the history of the California Labor Movement, Golden Lands, Working Hands. You may view sample clips and ordering information online. The series is available on DVD, with a CD of lesson plans. It is a CDE-approved supplementary history/social science text.
  • http://www.lausd.k12.ca.us/lausd/offices/cbep/ The Los Angeles Unified School District and United Teachers Los Angeles support the Collective Bargaining Project, which brings role-playing and simulations about labor history and collective bargaining to middle and high school classrooms, and assists teachers in other districts.
  • http://chavez.cde.ca.gov/ModelCurriculum/Intro.aspx The CDE created a model K–12 curriculum on the life and work of César Chávez on his birthday, March 31, a State holiday. This site also includes a bibliography and other resources on César Chávez and farm labor issues.
  • http://www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu/ Calisphere is a Web site of primary sources and more for educators developed by the University of California, Berkeley. Teachers and students are able to see documents and images of California’s labor history from the Gold Rush to the Twentieth Century.
Safe Jobs for Youth Month

The California Partnership for Young Worker Health and Safety is a project funded by the California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensations, led by the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) at the University of California, Berkeley. It offers materials and activities for Safe Jobs for Youth Mouth Web page at http://youngworkers.org/safe_month/index.html, including the following activities for schools:

  • Use the Resource Kit to teach about health and safety or organize other educational activities. Teaching activities that link specifically with labor history month include “There Ought to be a Law” and “Triangle Tragedy.” http://youngworkers.org/downloads/index.html#resourcekit
  • Hold lunch parties, health fairs, and assemblies with workplace focus.

With these exciting materials and instructional possibilities, you should have no difficulty helping your students to participate in Labor History Month and Safe Jobs for Youth Month. If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Craig Cheslog, Principal Advisor, Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, by phone at 916-319-0800. [Note: the preceding contact is no longer valid. Please contact Jason Spencer, Special Advisor to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction at 916-319-0800 or by e-mail at jaspencer@cde.ca.gov if you have questions.]

Sincerely,

Tom Torlakson

TT:ja
2014-02742

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Recently Posted in Editorials & Letters

  • Updated Procedures for State Seal Of Biliteracy (added 08-Nov-2017)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents and Direct-Funded Charter School Administrators regarding the recently updated procedures for awarding the State Seal Of Biliteracy.
  • The ASVAB Career Exploration Program (added 19-Oct-2017)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators regarding the ASVAB Career Exploration Program.
  • Educational Stability for Students in Foster Care (added 13-Oct-2017)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and High School Principals regarding educational stability requirements for students in foster care.
  • The 2018 CAAASA Summit (added 09-Oct-2017)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators regarding the 2018 California Association of African-American Superintendents and Administrators Professional Development (CAAASA) Summit.
  • The Race to Submit Initiative (added 05-Oct-2017)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and High School Principals regarding the Race to Submit campaign.

  • Collaboration in Common (added 04-Oct-2017)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators regarding Collaboration in Common, which is an online professional learning community and resource exchange platform for all California educators.
  • CA New Accountability System & System of Support (added 02-Oct-2017)
    California's New Accountability System & System of Support: Dashboard rollout
  • Digital Citizenship Week is Oct. 16-20 (added 29-Sep-2017)
    Fall Digital Citizenship Week is October 16-20, 2017
  • 2017 CalEd Grant Initiative (updated 29-Sep-2017)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators regarding the Commission On Teacher Credentialing CalEd Grant Initiative.
  • 2017 California STEAM Symposium (added 21-Sep-2017)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Principals regarding the 2017 California Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics Symposium.