November 6, 2020
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Forthcoming Release of Recommendations to the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) will release today its latest recommendations to the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, which will contain expanded resources that reflect California’s diversity, promote critical thinking, and empower educators to lead courageous conversations that are relevant to students of all backgrounds.
“These recommendations to the model curriculum build on the strengths of ethnic studies by bridging the experiences of California’s diverse classrooms and communities, and I am proud to put forward a bold, balanced, and inclusive guide for our educators and students,” Thurmond said. “Our students want to be seen in their curriculum, and our educators are asking for the tools to create meaningful change in our society. I am proud to put forward recommendations to this draft that I think can be a model for 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.
Later today, the CDE will post online its next set of recommendations to the draft model curriculum. It will be posted to the agenda for the November 18-19 meeting of the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) web page.
The CDE recommends that the model curriculum build and expand on the four foundational disciplines of ethnic studies—African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano Latino Studies, and Native American Studies.
For example, Asian American Studies resources have been added or expanded to better reflect the diversity of experiences and contributions of groups that have been marginalized and understudied, including Filipina/o/x Studies; material covering Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, and Lao Americans; Pacific Islander Studies; and Southeast Asian Studies. The recommendations also include revisions that strengthen the existing lessons for Native American Studies and provide additional lessons for African American Studies.
Additionally, an expanded appendix will further reflect California's diversity by offering materials and sample lesson plans that raise the voices of additional identities—such as Arab Americans, Armenian Americans, Sikh Americans, and Jewish Americans—whose experiences intersect with the core disciplines of ethnic studies.
Thurmond said the recommended updates address any previous concerns or criticisms related to language that can be perceived as forms of bias, hatred, or bigotry toward any group. The CDE’s latest recommendations are designed to help students and educators facilitate balanced and equitable discussions involving multiple narratives and voices—without overemphasizing one idea at the expense of another.
After the IQC considers and acts on the recommendations during its next meeting November 18–19, the model curriculum draft will undergo another 45-day public review period. State law requires the State Board of Education 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.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100