June 9, 2023
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Calls on Textbook Publishers to Commit to Diverse Narratives
SACRAMENTO—Against a national backdrop where states and schools boards are attempting to erase the voices and histories of marginalized communities, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced the launch of a special task force to examine inclusive content offered to California students by textbook publishers. Senator Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) will co-chair the task force with Thurmond, and they will be joined by several other legislators who will serve on the committee.
Thurmond and his special task force are requesting California textbook publishers to appear at a hearing this month to pledge to protect and provide student access to information that is free from discrimination and inclusive of the diverse narratives that reflect the student body of California. The publishers will be asked to publicly commit to diversifying depictions in instructional materials used in schools, with specific attention to images and stories of marginalized groups including Black, Native American, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and LGBTQ+ people and persons with disabilities.
“Publishers reap close to $500 million annually from California public schools—we need those who benefit to do what is best for students. We know we can improve graduation and college-going rates among all students—and especially teens of color—when they have the opportunity to see themselves represented in the curriculum and classroom,” said Thurmond. “More than 75 percent of public school students in California are students of color, but some textbooks still fail to reflect the student population we serve. We need to do better so our students can thrive.”The hearing of the special task force will take place on Wednesday, June 21 in Sacramento. More details will be available in the coming week.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100