August 14, 2019
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Efforts Underway to Make Major Revisions to Improve Ethnic Studies Curriculum Draft
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond joined with leaders of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus at a special news conference today to address concerns and talk about revisions to the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.
Thurmond stated in the meeting that greater balance was needed in the curriculum to more accurately reflect the experience and contributions of Jewish Americans and to address anti-Semitism that has existed historically and that continues to persist in modern-day times.
Along with Superintendent Thurmond, in attendance today were Senator Benjamin Allen, District 26 (Redondo Beach) and Chair of the Jewish Caucus; Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, District 45 (Van Nuys) and Co-Chair of the Jewish Caucus; Assemblymember Jose Medina, District 61 (Riverside); Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, District 19 (Oxnard); and Assemblymember Marc Berman, District 24 (Los Altos). All expressed deep concern with the first draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum and their support for additional revisions.
Assemblymember Medina introduced AB 331 in January to mandate Ethnic Studies as a graduation requirement in all California high schools. Senator Allen is a recent member of the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), which is scheduled to review public comments and proposed edits to the model curriculum’s first draft in September.
Immediate next steps will include transmitting the more than 5,000 written public comments that were submitted to the IQC that will consider making changes to the draft before sending it to the State Board of Education which has the final authority to make changes and adopt a draft.
Thurmond said that the CDE will pursue all options to correct the issues, including meeting with other stakeholder groups, asking the legislature for more time if needed to complete the draft and if needed, starting a new draft. Edits will be recommended with the potential of additional writers and ethnographers being utilized. Thurmond, along with Senator Allen and fellow legislators, expressed confidence the first draft would be fixed.
“This first draft of the Ethnic Studies curriculum was created from a framework that focuses on the contributions of African-Americans, Latino-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Native-Americans based on the kind of historic perspective of how ethnic studies has been traditionally viewed and taught at universities and colleges in the United States. Sadly, when it comes to history, we have witnessed high rates of anti-Semitic behavior against Jewish-Americans in the past and in recent times,” Thurmond said.All recommended revisions will be reviewed at the next IQC meeting on September 20, 2019. To submit public comment on the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments made by August 15 will be reviewed for future edits. An additional public comment period may be scheduled after the September IQC meeting.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100