Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo
California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
January 26, 2018

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:

Choosing Instructional Materials Based on the New History–Social Science Framework

This letter is to update you on some of the instructional shifts and new content in the History–Social Science Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Framework) adopted by the State Board of Education on July 14, 2016, that have implications for your decisions on instructional materials.

The new Framework places a strong emphasis on four main instructional shifts: content, inquiry, literacy, and citizenship. Course descriptions for the four major high school courses and the various suggested electives have been completely rewritten to reflect new scholarship and other changes in content since the last major revisions to the Framework more than 15 years ago.

The Framework uses guiding questions throughout the course narratives to facilitate instruction based on student inquiry. Students evaluate primary and secondary sources, develop and defend arguments, conduct research, and make presentations on important topics.

The emphasis on literacy development includes explicit linkages to the California Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects; the English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework; and the California English Language Development Standards. This collaborative emphasis between language arts and history–social science instruction is developed in a series of classroom examples seeded throughout the course descriptions, including more than a dozen in high school.

Finally, the emphasis on citizenship can be seen in various suggestions for student engagement through simulations of government, community activism, and service-learning projects. You will find these four shifts developed throughout the high school course descriptions and also in the chapters on Assessment, Access and Equity, Instructional Strategies, and Professional Learning.

I would like to draw your attention to some areas that were developed in the Framework in response to recent legislation. This list is not exhaustive, and you will find many other new additions throughout the course descriptions.

  • Coverage of the Armenian Genocide (Education Code [EC] sections 51220 and 51226.3) was expanded in grade ten, and references to several other genocides of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries were added.
  • The FAIR Education Act, signed into law in 2012, requires that instructional materials adopted at the state or local level include coverage of the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons and people with disabilities to the history of California and the United States. References to support this legislation were added in grades nine, eleven, and twelve (the Principles of American Democracy course).
  • Information on financial literacy (EC Section 51284) was added to the Principles of Economics course in grade twelve and elsewhere in the Framework, including a recommended Financial Literacy elective course in grade nine.
  • Coverage of the contributions of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans to the Pacific Campaign in World War II and to the farm labor movement in California (EC sections 51008 and 51221.3) was added in grade eleven.
  • Voter education information, including information about how students can register to vote, is discussed in the grade twelve Principles of American Democracy course (EC Section 33540).

In addition, numerous other topics were introduced into the high school course descriptions in response to public comments during the framework development process, such as the treatment of enslaved “comfort women” in World War II in grade ten. You will find many such topics addressed in the high school course descriptions in the Framework.

This is important information as you begin to make decisions on HistorySocial Science instructional materials. Chapter 23, the Criteria for Evaluating Instructional Materials, provides guidance in helping you begin the local adoption process. You will find the complete Framework on the California Department of Education Curriculum Frameworks Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/hs/cf/.

If you have any questions regarding this correspondence, please contact Stephanie Gregson, Director of the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division, by phone at 916-319-0881 or by e-mail at sgregson@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tom Torlakson

TT:sg
2018-00318

Last Reviewed: Monday, January 29, 2018

Recently Posted in Editorials & Letters

  • Directing Change Program Student Film Contest (added 10-Aug-2018)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and High School Principals regarding the Directing Change Program Student Film Contest.
  • World Languages Framework Committee (added 09-Aug-2018)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Interested Individuals and Organizations regarding a request for committee members to revise the World Languages Framework for California Public Schools.
  • Cal Grant Grade Point Average Submissions (added 08-Aug-2018)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, High School Principals, and High School Counselors regarding Cal Grant Grade Point Average submissions.
  • Smoke and Ash Safety Webinar (added 07-Aug-2018)
    A webinar for school districts to review best practices for Smoke and Ash Safety in light of the wildfires in California.
  • Revise Visual and Performing Arts Framework (added 03-Aug-2018)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Interested Individuals and Organizations requesting for committee members to revise Visual and Performing Arts Framework.

  • Budget Act for 2018–19 (added 03-Aug-2018)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Direct-Funded Charter School Administrators, and County Chief Business Officers regarding the Budget Act for 2018–19.
  • Student Mental Health Legislation (added 01-Aug-2018)
    Letter to District and County Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and High School Principals requesting support letters for student mental health legislation.
  • Attendance Awareness Month: Trainings (added 01-Aug-2018)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators regarding Attendance Awareness Month and trainings to engage communities and reduce chronic absenteeism rates.
  • Developing New Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (added 17-Jul-2018)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Interested Individuals and Organizations regarding a request for advisory committee members to develop the new Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.
  • Character Day 2018 (added 18-Jun-2018)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals regarding Character Day.