Defend Ethnic Studies for Our Students! Save Our Curriculum at the CA Dept of Ed Now!

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Students of color deserve to see themselves in school curriculum. The fact that they don’t is a problem. For 50+ years there has been a movement for racial justice and equity in the classroom. African American, American Indian, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Chicanx/Latinx students, along with progressive white allies, have fought for Ethnic Studies—an education that serves their communities and expands beyond the biased Eurocentric curriculum. They have organized high school walkouts, college student strikes, rallies, sit-ins, and hunger strikes.

The struggle continues. Today, we need to counter presidentially endorsed hatred and discrimination across groups. Communities of color, who are part of the global and state majority, cannot be marginalized as the CA Department of Education (CDE) moves forward with finalizing the AB2016 CA Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. The current draft was prepared by CDE writers, further developed by the Advisory Committee, reviewed and approved by the Instructional Quality Commission for public comment. The core of the model curriculum focuses on the histories and social justice struggles of communities of color in the U.S.  

While revisions are a normal part of the process, this curriculum is now being aggressively attacked from groups who have little to no experience in the discipline, which could result in the entire curriculum being delayed and fundamentally diluted by people without expertise in the field, who want to completely rewrite it.  

After 50 years of struggle and work for this moment, it cannot be taken away from us at this last second — doing so would be an act of institutional racism. Our students deserve an authentic Ethnic Studies curriculum. The voices and guidance of communities of color and Native people must remain at the heart of it.

According to research, Ethnic Studies curriculum in high schools has demonstrated an increase in: (a) GPA across disciplines, (b) high school graduation rates, (c) college-going rates, and (d) sense of belonging. Studies show Ethnic Studies curriculum works—it narrows “the achievement gap” for students of color, and also benefits white students. This potential cannot be compromised. We owe it to all of our 1.9 million high school students (1.4 million are of color) to provide this curriculum. Now think of a high school student you know. Once finalized, this Ethnic Studies curriculum could help that student as early as next year!

This curriculum has strong support from 22 CSU Ethnic Studies departments, UC Ethnic Studies faculty, teachers and educational leaders—including Dr. Christine Sleeter of the National Education Association who was specifically cited in AB2016. Supporters also include large organizations with memberships in the thousands who are California voters, representing communities of color and our allies for educational, racial, and social justice.

At this critical moment, we need all progressive people to join us in solidarity to support and protect the integrity of the current CA Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum draft before September 19. Save CA Ethnic Studies now! 

Join us today in demanding that the CA Department of Education, Instructional Quality Commission, State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, and Governor Gavin Newsom:

  1. Keep the current model curriculum draft (with some revisions) focused on the histories and social justice struggles of communities of color in the U.S.
  2. Maintain the Ethnic Studies curricular framework—with disciplinary knowledge, language, and pedagogy—by not diluting or converting it into a non-equivalent field (i.e., multicultural studies, diversity studies, or area studies).
  3. Improve accountability, transparency, and consensus-building with the Ethnic Studies expert practitioners of communities of color and Native people—throughout the entire model curriculum process and up until its completion and ratification.

Supporters who stand in solidarity with an authentic Ethnic Studies curriculum are listed below, in alphabetical order. This list was last updated on 9/7/19. Bold indicates organizations

  1. AB 2016 California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Advisory Committee
  2. Alianza - Sacramento
  3. Alliance of South Asians Taking Action
  4. American Indian & Indigenous Faculty Staff Association, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  5. Anakbayan Santa Cruz
  6. Asian Pacific Islanders (API’s) for Ethnic Studies
  7. Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
  8. Artnelson Concordia, San Francisco Unified School District, Coordinator of Ethnic Studies
  9. Asian Americans Advancing Justice
  10. Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA)
  11. Asians4BlackLives - Bay Area
  12. Asian American Studies Department, UC Davis
  13. Association of Raza Educators - California
  14. Black Lives Matter - California
  15. Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, UC Davis
  16. California Indian History Curriculum Coalition
  17. California Latino School Boards Association
  18. California Legislative Black Caucus
  19. California State University Council on Ethnic Studies - representing Ethnic Studies Depts on 22 CSUs
  20. California Teachers Association-Stanford Instructional Leadership Corps’ Ethnic Studies Team
  21. Center for Political Education
  22. Chicano Research Center - Stockton
  23. Compton Unified  School District Board members
  24. Council on American-Islamic Relations, California
  25. Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Program, UC Merced
  26. Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Program, UC Santa Cruz
  27. Cruz Reynoso Voter Engagement Coalition
  28. Dalit American Foundation
  29. Danny Blas, Secretary, Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee, San Diego Unified School District
  30. David Goldberg, California Teachers Association Vice-President
  31. Dr. Agustin Palacios, Chicana/o Studies Faculty, Contra Costa Community College
  32. Dr. Alberto Ochoa, Profesor Emeritus, Department of Dual Language and English Learners, SDSU
  33. Dr. Camilla Hawthorne, Sociology and Critical Race & Ethnic Studies Faculty, UC Santa Cruz
  34. Dr. Carl Jorgensen, Faculty, African American and African Studies, Former Chair of Curriculum Committee and Sociology
  35. Dr. Charles Toombs, California Faculty Association President
  36. Dr. Christine Hong, Director of Critical Race & Ethnic Studies Program, and Co-Director of Center for Racial Justice, UC Santa Cruz
  37. Dr. Christine Sleeter, Liberal Studies Professor Emerita, CSU Monterey Bay, author of National Education Association research review on Ethnic Studies, the only publication specifically cited in the AB 2016 legislation
  38. Dr. Felicity Amaya Schaeffer, Chair of Feminist Studies Department, UC Santa Cruz
  39. Dr. Floyd Huen, Third World Liberation Front, Founder of Asian American Studies, UC Berkeley
  40. Dr. Gregorio Mora-Torres, Chicana/o Studies Faculty, San Jose State University
  41. Dr. Guillermo Gomez, Co-Chair, Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee, San Diego Unified School District
  42. Dr. Isidro Ortiz, Chicana/o Studies Faculty,  San Diego State University
  43. Dr. Jennie Luna, Chicana/o Studies Faculty, Cal State University Channel Islands
  44. Dr. Jenny Kelly, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies and Feminist Studies, UC Santa Cruz
  45. Dr. Jerry Zee,  Critical Race & Ethnic Studies and Anthropology Dept. Faculty, UC Santa Cruz
  46. Dr. Karen Cadeiro-Kaplan, Professor Emeritus, San Diego State University and Former Division Director of English Learner Support at CA Dept of Ed
  47. Dr. Kiki Ochoa, Ethnic Studies Teacher, San Diego Unified School District
  48. Dr. Luz Calvo, Ethnic Studies Faculty, Cal State University, East Bay
  49. Dr. Marie Lorraine Mallare, Ethnic Studies Department, CSU Sacramento
  50. Dr. Margarita Berta Avila, College of Education Faculty,  at Cal State University Sacramento
  51. Dr. Maylei Blackwell, Chicana/o Studies Faculty, University of California,  Los Angeles
  52. Dr. Natalia Deeb-Sossa, Chicana/o Studies Faculty, University of California, Davis
  53. Dr. Neda Atanasoski, Feminist Studies Department and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, UC Santa Cruz
  54. Dr. Roberto Cintli Rodriguez, Chicana/o Studies Faculty, University of Arizona
  55. Dr. Roberto Hernandez, Chicana/o Studies Faculty,  San Diego State University
  56. Dr. Robyn Rodriguez, Chair, Asian American Studies, UC Davis
  57. Dr. Rose Borunda, College of Education Faculty,  Cal State University Sacramento
  58. Dr. Sunaina Maira, Asian American Studies Faculty, UC Davis
  59. Dr. Susy Zepeda, Chicana/o Studies Faculty,  UC Davis
  60. Dr. Theresa Montaño, Chicana/o Studies Faculty,  Cal State University Northridge
  61. Dr. Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen, Chair, SDUSD Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee
  62. Larry Thurman, Ethnic Studies Teacher, San Diego Unified School District
  63. Eclipse Rising, Zainichi Korean Organization
  64. Education for Liberation Network
  65. Education for Social Justice Foundation
  66. Equality Labs
  67. Eduardo Lopez, CTA/Stanford Instructional Leadership Corps Ethnic Studies Team
  68. Ethnic Studies Department, UC Riverside
  69. Ethnic Studies Now Coalition - California
  70. Guadalupe Carrasco Cardona, Chair, Association of Raza Educators - Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District Ethnic Studies Teacher Leadership Team
  71. HOBAK Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans
  72. Indian People Organizing for Change
  73. Jean Quan, first female Mayor of Oakland (2011-2015), Asian American Political Alliance and Third World Liberation Front co-founder
  74. Johnny Gonzalez, Ethnic Studies Lead Teacher, Coachella Valley Unified School District
  75. Jorge Lopez, LAUSD Ethnic Studies Teacher Leadership Team, CTA/Stanford Instructional Leadership Corps
  76. Jorge Pacheco Jr., Ethnic Studies Teacher and District Trustee, Oak Grove School District
  77. Jewish Voice for Peace-Bay Area
  78. Keith Brown, President, Oakland Education Association
  79. Korea Policy Institute
  80. Labor Council For Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) Sacramento AFL-CIO
  81. Lailan Huen, Asian Pacific Islander Student Achievement Program, Oakland Unified School District
  82. League of United Latin American Citizens – California
  83. Little Manila Rising
  84. Mario Galván, Association of Raza Educators, Sacramento chapter
  85. Marisa Villegas-Ramirez, Ethnic Studies Design Team Member, Oakland Unified School District
  86. Middle East Children’s Alliance
  87. National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies Norcal Foco
  88. National Association of Multicultural Education
  89. Nodutdol for Korean Community Development
  90. Norb Kumagai, Asian American Studies, UC Davis,Alumnus
  91. Peoples Education Movement - Bay Area
  92. Peoples Education Movement - Los Angeles
  93. Pin@y Educational Partnerships - San Francisco
  94. Politics and Pedagogy Collective
  95. Pukúu Cultural Community Services, Native American Non-Profit Organization
  96. Richard Soto, Director of Chicano Research Center, Stockton
  97. Ron Espiritu, Board Member, Education for Liberation Network; Peoples Education Movement
  98. R. Tolteka Cuauhtin, UTLA Ethnic Studies Teacher Representative; CTA/Stanford Instructional Leadership Corps; Co-Chair, CA AB2016 Model Curriculum Advisory Committee (Feb-April, 2019)
  99. San Diego Unified School District Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee
  100. San Francisco Unified School District Board members
  101. San Francisco Supervisors members
  102. Senior Rabbi Dev Noily of Kehilla Community Synagogue - Oakland
  103. South Asian Histories for All
  104. Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
  105. Step Up! Sacramento
  106. Steve Nyholm, Co-Chair, Native Family Alliance
  107. Students, in numbers, at High School, Community College, and University Levels
  108. Teachers 4 Social Justice
  109. Third World  Liberation Front, San Francisco State University,  1968 Veterans
  110. Third World  Liberation Front, UC Berkeley,  1969-Today & Tomorrow
  111. Union del Barrio - California
  112. White People for Black Lives
  113. Xicanx Institute for Teaching and Organizing (XITO)
  114. Xicanx Organizers Cultivating Humanity & Indigeneity for Teaching and Learning (XOCHITL)
  115. Youth Together – Oakland

There are more organizations, institutions, and individuals in support, growing by the day.

Save CA Ethnic Studies!