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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
July 26, 2023

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:

Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Graduation Requirements and Professional Development Webinar

The California Department of Education (CDE) and I are delighted to invite you to the next webinar on ethnic studies. We have an exciting lineup of speakers and updates to share, and we will have dialogue on how to implement California’s ethnic studies graduation requirement.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, August 16, 2023, at 11 a.m. via Zoom and will also be livestreamed on Facebook. It will provide an opportunity for local educational agencies (LEAs) to become acquainted with the benefits of ethnic studies and to be reacquainted with the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) guide that was approved by the State Board of Education to inform LEAs in establishing their own ethnic studies curriculum.

Ethnic studies is a great example of how inclusive education promotes academic achievement and social development for students. Ethnic studies is proven to help students learn about the contributions of African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and research shows that ethnic studies helps students from all backgrounds do better academically.

The webinar will focus on how to use the ESMC guide to create ethnic studies curriculum. The guide provides an overview of what has been included historically in ethnic studies classes and includes lesson plans that can be helpful for educators at every level. The ESMC guide itself and Assembly Bill 101, the legislation that enabled the ethnic studies graduation requirement, were written to help promote ethnic studies and prevent the inclusion of any topic that might be considered offensive or controversial. Assembly Bill 101 says that to the extent that LEAs, including charter schools, choose to locally develop an ethnic studies program for approval by their governing board or governing body, it is the intent of the California State Legislature that LEAs not use the portions of the draft model curriculum that were not adopted by the Instructional Quality Commission due to concerns related to bias, bigotry, and discrimination.

The CDE and I will soon launch a training certification for trainers, curriculum developers, school staff, and others who want to be certified in the use of the ESMC guide. We recommend that districts creating an ethnic studies curriculum work with those who have been certified in the use of the ESMC guide. The staff at the CDE and the San Diego County Office of Education, the lead technical assistance agency for implementing the state ethnic studies graduation requirement, stand by to assist you with any needs you may have regarding ethnic studies.

Please register via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nf7DKwzpRq264PkCf5YqUg and direct any questions to ESMCPD@cde.ca.gov.

We look forward to seeing you at the webinar.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Last Reviewed: Thursday, July 27, 2023

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