We ask that you please sign your name, below, in support of ESN’s recommendations to the CA State Board of Education (SBE) for the new CA History-Social Science Framework’s (HSSFW) Ethnic Studies elective course. The SBE’s next meeting is scheduled to be the last time to make any changes to this framework for at least another 8 years!
How can a general ES course description not have any mention of students learning about their ancestral roots, or about colonialism, or about self-determination for that matter? Community cultural wealth? Please see our recommended line edits to the SBE that will ensure that these main concepts are not left out.
Today, please sign and spread the word! This will only take a moment and with your support, we can affect the HSSFW’s official description of Ethnic Studies, and help make it more genuine, critical, and transformational for thousands of students across California – it is what they deserve. Please Sign and spread the word!860 signatures
~~ETHNIC STUDIES NOW COALITION: IMPERATIVE RECOMMENDATIONS TO CA SBE FOR CA HSSFW~~
1. Our first recommendation is for Chapter 14, p.425, line 648, to explicitly include four core concepts and academic language of Ethnic Studies, after "...a more complex understanding of the human experience". ADDITION: "This understanding relates to student knowledge of the concepts of indigeneity, colonialism, cultural hegemony, and self-determination, as they have occurred throughout history and today”.
2. Our second recommendation is that these concepts be explicitly culturally relevant and responsive to students in Chapter 14, p.426, line 675, after "co-investigators in the inquiry process". ADDITION: "This reflection of instructors and students' own personal histories should be considerate of how the concepts of indigeneity, colonialism, cultural hegemony, and community cultural wealth, relate to their own ancestral legacies as historically situated human beings".
3. Our third recommendation, is to respect the Ethnic Studies tradition of explicitly acknowledging the Indigenous peoples of the land where any course is taking place. We recommend adding a sentence in Chapter 14, p.427, line 692, before the following sentence: “Students can investigate the history of the experience of various ethnic groups within the United States...”. ADDITION: “In studying various ethnic groups, the Indigenous peoples of any area under academic investigation and of any land where a course is taking place (e.g. Miwok in Sacramento, Chumash in Santa Barbara, Kumeyaay in San Diego), are respectfully acknowledged as the original peoples of the community”.
Why Ethnic Studies?
We, the undersigned, support the effort to construct and implement an ethnic studies class as a high school graduation requirement in the Sacramento City Unified School District.
Sacramento, CA is the 2nd most ethnically diverse city in the United States (US Census Bureau, 2015). Our school district is a beautiful mirror of our population; our students are 37% Hispanic or Latino, 17.4% Asian, 18% African American, 19% white, and 5.3% of students are two or more ethnicities. In our district, residents speak over 44 languages and 38% do not speak English at home (SCUSD, 2015).
We need a high school curriculum that reflects the diversity of all students. Despite our numbers, only 1 out of 13 high schools within our district offers ethnic studies. Because over 80% of our school district populations are students of color, we need to offer a course that includes and investigates these rich histories and lived experiences.
By having an ethnic studies course, our hope is that all students will learn to respect, accept, and love themselves. We want all students to think critically about the importance of their race, ethnicity, location, and identity as it exists in history and in the present. We believe that ethnic studies courses can offer important narratives that are missing from the euro-centric lens that history is often shown through. We want to empower our students to learn more about themselves and their communities, build empathy and unity with other ethnic groups, and push for social justice.