The California Department of Education (CDE), in collaboration with leading ethnic studies educators of color, are currently drafting the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). The ESMC is intended to reflect and acknowledge California’s rich diversity.
The revised Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum leaves out some AAPI experiences that were initially included in the original version.
The API School Board Members Association urges for the following revisions which includes the full spectrum of the AAPI community.
1) Restore API sample lessons that were in the original June 2019 draft
2) Add more API sample lessons for ethnic groups with largest populations in California
To ensure the ESMC draft reflects and includes the full spectrum of the AAPI experience send a letter of support (click on the red button on the right) addressing the above key points for revision to the CA Department of Education today! An email template will be generated for you and you can modify it to include your own story about why Ethnic Studies and the revisions are important to you. Send all letters and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org and cc: APISBMA.email@example.com.
Members of the public are invited to submit comments on the revised draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. All written comments will be forwarded to the members of the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) and the State Board of Education (SBE) prior to their action upon the draft model curriculum. The current public comment period is September 1–30, 2020.
-Write a letter of support to Superintendent Tony Thurmond,
CA Dept of Education or call (916) 319-0243.
-Spread the message and share this page
The Asian Pacific Islander School Board Members Association (APISBMA) strongly advocates for Ethnic Studies, however, APISBMA does not support the lack of AAPI inclusion in the Model Curriculum. Because we are AAPI School board members, we see the value in seeing AAPI experiences reflected in the curriculum. As a school board association that stewards education in California we recognize the importance of students learning the contributions of communities of color.
Specifically, we believe that the ESMC must reflect the diversity of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The ESMC June 2019 draft, Chapter 2, Sample Lesson 2, "Myths and Realities Surrounding the Asian Pacific Islander American Community" offers a foundational overview of Pan-Asianism and the socio-political construction of Asian American and Pacific Islander identity. This lesson guides students through dispelling the model minority myth and provides resources for a discussion on the importance of disaggregating AAPI data. Sample Lesson 2 is absent from the current draft and needs to be restored in the final draft.
While we appreciate that the Pacific Islander lesson has been included in the current ESMC draft, and the IQC has committed to developing an Arab American lesson by the November meeting, APISBMA does not understand why the Cambodian American lesson was removed from the original draft and demands that the lesson be restored. Based on 2010 census data, some of the largest AAPI ethnic groups - Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Asian Indian - should also be represented with lessons in the ESMC. For AAPI lessons, we implore that the California Department of Education (CDE) reach out to community stakeholders to review lesson content for authenticity prior to submission to the IQC in November.
The CDE’s Instructional Guidance for K-12 Education in Chapter 3 of the ESMC states that an “Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies course can be designed to be an introduction to the socio-political construction of Asian American and Pacific Islander identity in the United States...This course can explore a broad range of topics and events pertaining to the Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences, and examine their contributions to U.S. history.”
APISBMA maintains that the “Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies” unit must offer the foundational overview of the AAPI pan-ethnic identity, include the full spectrum of the AAPI community, and be aligned with the expansive CDE vision imagined in Chapter 3. Ethnic Studies affords us all the opportunity to be champions of racial justice in the classroom. We look forward to embracing and empowering the global citizens in California’s youth.
The Asian Pacific Islander School Board Members Association (APISBMA) strongly opposes the July 2020 Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) Draft because it unnecessarily excludes communities of color that were present in previous drafts.
Specifically, the draft no longer includes course outlines and lesson plans on Cambodian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Arab Americans, and Asian Americans (as a pan-ethnic group). In addition, Resistance Against Mass Incarceration: The Attica Uprising lesson was removed from African American Studies and the Context of Oppression and Struggle and Indian Land: Purpose, Politics, and Practice of Land Acknowledgment lessons were removed from Native American Studies. All of these items were included in the prior June 2019 ESMC Draft.
APISBMA acknowledges that the June 2019 Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Draft needed revision; however, no groups and course outlines that were a part of the original draft should have been removed during the revision process. During this era of xenophobia, violence, and hatred, it is not the time for the exclusion of any communities of color already presented in the draft. In fact, this period underlines why we need Ethnic Studies across our state and nation. One of the strengths of Ethnic Studies is that while it is necessarily centered on people of color, it is designed to uplift all students and to benefit everyone with the knowledge of what race is, what racism is, and how both race and racism structure American life.
APISBMA advocates that removed groups and course outlines be returned to the ESMC draft, revisions be made to further inclusion, and most importantly, a model curriculum be approved by March 2021 so that the work of incorporating ethnic studies into K-12 curriculum can proceed statewide.
By introducing Ethnic Studies content as early as elementary school, students will be able to develop their skills about race over time, just as students develop their math and language skills over time. Future generations of Americans will have the race skills necessary to have positive interracial interactions and friendships, engage in difficult race related conversations, and work collaboratively to dismantle systemic racism.
APISBMA maintains that the “Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies” unit is categorically insufficient to assist teachers in building content on educating students about the full spectrum of the API community. The absence of sample course outlines and lesson plans in the July 2020 ESMC draft on Cambodian Americans, Arab Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Asian Americans (as a pan-ethnic group) is exclusionary. It will be to California’s detriment to lose the richness and diversity of API experiences if the current Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum draft is approved.
Topics in Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies Unit
Appendix B: Sample Lessons and Topics
American and Pacific Islander Studies
* Arab American Studies sample lesson in progress
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California, United States