We Won ! Chicano History Will be in the California Textbooks in 2017
By Duane Campbell
History and social science textbooks in public schools in California and most of the nation are racist, class-biased, and ignore LGBT history. This condition will change in California in 2017 when new textbooks are adopted.
It is over. We won !
At 2:45 PM today the California State Board of Education unanimously endorsed a new History /Social Science Framework for California’s public schools that includes a substantial addition of Chicano/Latino history, improved history of LGBT people, and improvements in several other histories.
This completes a 6 year effort against substantial opposition to revise the Framework. As a result textbooks in California in 2017 will be the most inclusive ever required, and all students will be taught an inclusive history. This has been the major campaign of this blog and the Mexican American Digital History project since 2009.
Under this decision California students will finally be encouraged to know the history of Latino civil rights leaders like Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta and Filipino labor leaders like Larry Itliong, as well as an accurate and inclusive history of LGBT activists as a part of the history of California and the nation. These topics are currently substantially absent from public school textbooks and curricula in California.
The Quality Instructional Materials Committee of the California State Board of Education decided to include these long- ignored histories in their re-writing of the History/Social Science Framework for the state. The Framework document sets the parameters and the minimums required of textbooks used in the schools. Because of California’s large size and market, what goes into California textbooks frequently also gets written into textbooks around the nation.
In the current books, when the 51% of students who are Latino, the 11.5% who are Asian, and the estimated 11% of students who are LGBT, do not see themselves as part of history, for many their sense of self is marginalized. As I argued in a prior book, marginalization negatively impacts their connections with school and their success at school. This has resulted in a nearly 50% dropout rate for Latinos and some Asian groups and LGBT students.. School marginalization also contributes directly to low-level civic engagement. An accurate history would provide some of these students with a a sense of self, of direction, of purpose. History and social science classes should help young people acquire and learn to use the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives.
As a consequence of the current outdated history texts for California public schools, most schools, most teachers, fail to teach an accurate, complete, complex history of the Chicano- Latino people, of Asian Americans and of LGBT youth, among others. This essentially means that the writers are choosing not to recognize reality. – not to tell the full story.
And, while California and the nation have a general problem with low civic antiracismdsa: We Won ! Chicano History Will be in the California Textbooks in 2017: