California Department of Education: Include the contributions of immigrants in the 11th grade history curriculum
Almost two and a half centuries after its founding, the United States has been heavily impacted by the contributions of immigrants socially, scientifically, economically, and politically. These immigrants range from the escapees of the Irish potato famine to the Vietnamese refugees seeking a better life in America. In fact, immigration has become such an important subject that today, Congress once again sits to reform immigration policies that will affect lives all around the globe.
The current 11th grade US History curriculum, however, neither emphasizes nor describes the contributions of immigrants - at least not to an extent that lets high schoolers understand and remember the importance of immigrants. To ignore what millions upon millions of immigrants have done for this country is both an injustice to their charity and an injustice to our own heritage. Although the summary at the top of the curriculum mentions the attempt to include ethnic diversity and rights, the only portion that does address diversity is a section on Civil Rights-era African Americans.
This is the story of us, and it's time to tell that story to our posterity.
The current curriculum for high school United States history does, arguably, include immigrants within its curriculum. Nevertheless, we feel that the details outlined are neither sufficient nor comprehensive. Eastern and western European immigrations is mentioned in a few meager bullet points, but students do not learn how their immigrations affected our country. The coverage of ethnic rights and liberties extends only to African Americans and lightly touches upon minorities during the Civil Rights-era, but fails to address the issues that face immigrants and non-Caucasians today.
Immigration has always been a history of failures and successes, disenfranchisement and enfranchisement, and rights and liberties. It is important that, in the last US history class of their secondary education, students learn to appreciate and understand the stories of each immigrant, whether they be Asian, European, African, or Latino. To exclude one group is to exclude all.
We encourage you to look at our attached resolution, and consider our proposals to enhance the high school US history curriculum. Do not deny the history of our nation.