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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #20-64
July 31, 2020
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Recommendations to Draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum

Recommendations kick off public input period before March 2021 adoption deadline

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that the California Department of Education (CDE) has posted online its latest recommendations to the draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. The recommendations are scheduled to be reviewed by the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) at its quarterly meeting on August 13, the next in ongoing opportunities for public input before final adoption.

The CDE recommends that the model curriculum remain rooted in four foundational disciplines of ethnic studies—African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano Latino Studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies. The CDE also recommends the draft include educator resources for engaging in expanded, critical conversations that can be customized to reflect a school community’s diversity and engage in broader social justice issues.

“Our schools have not always been a place where students can gain a full understanding of the contributions of people of color and the many ways throughout history—and present day—that our country has exploited, marginalized, and oppressed them. At a time when people across the nation are calling for a fairer, more just society, we must empower and equip students and educators to have these courageous conversations in the classroom,” said Thurmond. “I am proud to submit these recommendations for a draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum that will not only serve as a roadmap for educators but, hopefully, inspire action across the nation.”

California is required by law to develop a model curriculum in ethnic studies to be utilized as a guide and outline for schools as they consider implementing ethnic studies courses. This guide will help districts and schools as they begin to develop their own ethnic studies curriculum reflecting their student demographics and community.

The CDE’s recommendations and proposed edits were informed after reviewing tens of thousands of public comments, learning from ethnic studies subject matter experts and thought leaders, listening to educators, and engaging with students across the state. Based on stakeholder feedback, the CDE has recommended removing all language that can be perceived as anti-Semitic and has recommended a draft that provides resources educators can use to acknowledge California’s diversity and make connections to the experiences of all students.

“Our recommendations are to stay true to the fidelity of the ethnic studies movement, which has been fighting for this type of curriculum for decades, and which remains urgently relevant today—as we can see through the countless demonstrations for racial justice in our communities,” Thurmond said.

More information on the CDE recommendations and the draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum can be found on the IQC Agenda for August 13. CDE’s recommendations to the draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum are in alignment with state law and the State Board of Education-adopted (SBE) guidelines, which can be found on the CDE Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Guidelines web page.

The IQC will review the CDE recommendations at its August 13 meeting and will post the revised draft of the model curriculum for a 30-day period of public review prior to taking action later this year to recommend the model curriculum to the SBE. State law requires the SBE to take final action on the model curriculum by March 31, 2021.

More information on the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum can be found on the CDE Model Curriculum Projects web page. Individuals and groups will have the opportunity to submit public comment on the draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum during the 30-day review period. The IQC will review and consider those public comments at its November meeting. Comments can also be submitted at any time to

To engage a diverse cross-section of students more deeply in the four core disciplines of ethnic studies, Superintendent Thurmond earlier this month hosted a four-part series of virtual classroom lessons featuring civil rights icons, prominent ethnic studies instructors, and state leaders. The archived webinars can be found on the CDE Facebook page External link opens in new window or tab..

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

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