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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #20-62
July 28, 2020
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, Students, Educators and State Leaders Discuss Native American and Indigenous Studies During Final Event in Ethnic Studies Virtual Classroom Series

SACRAMENTO—Students who participated Tuesday in the final event in a series of virtual classroom sessions on ethnic studies, hosted by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, expressed their excitement to learn more about the key struggles and fights for Indigenous people’s rights in the United States.

In the State Superintendent’s fourth and final virtual classroom Tuesday, guests included students from throughout California, Assemblymember James Ramos; Mark Macarro, Tribal Chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians; Dr. Jenell Navarro, Associate Professor in the Ethnic Studies Department at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly); and Angela R. Riley, Director of UCLA's Native Nations Law and Policy Center.

“We’ve heard from students and educators that the pursuit of a more just society begins in the classroom, and we’re proud to have had the opportunity to present these virtual experiences in partnership with thought leaders in ethnic studies and racial justice,” said Thurmond. “So much has changed in the past year, and we have a unique and urgent opportunity to accelerate how we engage in conversations around race.”

The virtual classroom session Tuesday was centered on Native American and Indigenous Studies, one of the four foundational groups of ethnic studies, which also include: African American Studies, Asian American Studies and Chicano Latino Studies. As the CDE prepares to submit a revised Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum for public review, this series aimed to help students, educators, and families familiarize themselves with the core areas of ethnic studies, including how different groups have struggled and worked together, as well as key concepts such as equality, justice, race, ethnicity, and indigeneity.

During Tuesday’s webinar, students learned about ways in which the rich stories of Indigenous peoples have often been overshadowed by the Eurocentric framing of their histories. An archived broadcast of this virtual classroom session, as well as the other three, can be found on the California Department of Education (CDE) Facebook page External link opens in new window or tab..

State Superintendent Thurmond also said that during a virtual media check-in at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 29, he would provide an update on the CDE’s plans to release a revised Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum for public review. That update will also be streamed on the CDE Facebook page.

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Monday, March 28, 2022
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