Greater Diversity in California’s K-12 History Curriculum

In just a few years, our children will begin to learn more about their history and see themselves reflected in the stories of leaders, activists and movements that continue to shape our day-to-day lives.

The California Department of Education has rewritten the K-12 History-Social Science curriculum to include the voice of nearly every major ethnic group in California. This change will impact more than 6.2 million public school students, and is expected to show up in textbooks by 2018.

“We want students to understand that California and this country developed in part because of people like them,” said Tom Adams, deputy superintendent for instruction and learning in the California Department of Education. “At the same time, it’s never been a smooth story of progress. It’s one in which people have had to struggle for equality.”

In the new framework, the portion on California’s Latino history is expanded and includes information about the forced deportation of Mexican immigrants in the 1930s. It also highlights the role played by Filipino labor leader Larry Itliong in inspiring Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to join the grape strike of 1965.

The new curriculum also incorporates the struggles and progress of LGBT Americans, the impact of missions on California Indians and challenges faced by Chinese and Japanese Immigrants such as the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II.

Read more about the curriculum changes in the Sacramento Bee.

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Brenda Benitez

Brenda Benitez

Brenda Benitez is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and grew up in Chicago, IL with her 4 brothers and sisters. She recently graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, CA, where she studied Public Policy with a concentration in Psychology. She is passionate about education and immigration reform. Thanks to scholarships for both high school and college, Brenda had the opportunity to attend high performing private schools, and her interest in education is born of the realization that too few low-income students have access to this type of education. Furthermore, her own family’s struggle with the immigration system inspired her to be active in the immigration reform movement since a young age. Brenda is currently an intern at Education Post.

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