By Kimberly Beltran | SI&A Cabinet Report | http://bit.ly/Oqwoch
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 :: With the state focused on implementing new math and English language arts common core curriculum, a bill signed this week by Gov. Jerry Brown also paves the way for revisions in history and social science as well.
SB 1540 by Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Oakland, authorizes the California State Board of Education to consider the adoption of a revised curriculum framework and evaluation criteria for instructional materials in history and social sciences for K-12 classes. The existing framework is based on standards last adopted in 1998.
Development of a new history-social sciences framework began in 2009 but its adoption was suspended, by law, for budgetary reasons. As a result, California schools are still using textbooks and instructional materials based on 14-year old standards.
“It is a serious shortcoming that our basic instructional materials are so outdated,” Hancock said in a statement following the bill’s signing. “California textbooks don’t even mention the 9/11 tragedy or the election of Barak Obama to the presidency.
“We have an obligation to students and teachers to ensure that California schools will have materials that reflect the contributions of the many diverse cultural and religious groups in this country, as well as events in the second decade of this century – and not just those prior to 1998,” Hancock pointed out.
The state committed two years ago to the adoption of the new common core curriculum standards and since then has been immersed in the task of implementing the standards and developing the instructional materials necessary to prepare students and teachers for the 2014-15 school year when testing in the new content is set to begin.
Currently, an advisory committee of math teachers and other educators are engaged in developing the curriculum frameworks – or classroom blueprints – for implementing the new math standards. The frameworks are also used by publishers as a guide to ensure that their new instructional materials are properly aligned to the standards.
Brown hailed SB 1540 as a promotion of civil rights and religious freedom during a signing ceremony, held in conjunction with a North American Punjabi Association peace and unity rally at the state capitol on Saturday. The rally was held to honor victims of the Aug. 5 shooting rampage at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis.
Brown also signed that day AB 1964 by Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, which clarifies that the practice of wearing religious clothing or a religious hairstyle as a belief or observance is covered by protections under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Because of SB 1540, information about the Sikh religion and culture, as well as information about other religious and cultural groups in California, will be included in the new instructional framework, Hancock’s statement said.
“I believe, along with the Sikh community of California and many others, that education is the key to tolerance, understanding and to avoiding tragedies like the shooting outside a Sikh temple in Wisconsin last month,” Hancock added.
The bill was supported by the California School Boards Association, California Council for the Social Studies, California Teachers Association, Association of California School Administrators, Korea Academy for Educators, The Sikh Coalition, Sikh Temple of Sacramento, Sikh Council of Central California and the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.