Monday, July 18, 2016

Choosing Democracy: Chicano History Will be in the California Text Books in 2017

Choosing Democracy: Chicano History Will be in the California Text Books in 2017:

Chicano History Will be in the California Text Books in 2017

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 July 14, 2016,  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 engagement among young people,  it is also true that the state  has  a very specific problem with the rate of Latino and Asian voter participation in  civic life.
Rates of voting and voter registration provide a window into civic engagement.  The proportion of state voter registration that is Latino and Asian has remained far below the proportions of these groups in the state’s overall population. In 2010, Latinos in the state made up 37.6% of the general population while they were only 21.2 % of the registered voters. The Asian population was 13.1 % of the state population but only 8.1 % of the registered voters.
We know that we can do better.   California has the largest school population of any state, with more than 6,226,000 students in school in 2015, more than 11% of the United States total. California, along with some 16 other states, adopts textbooks for use by the entire state instead of purchasing books district by district. This makes the California textbook adoption the largest single textbook sale in the nation. Many publishers write and edit their books in a targeted attempt to win a piece of the large and lucrative California and Texas markets.  In recent years, as Republicans gained control of state governments, Texas, Arizona and  several other  southern states have moved their textbook histories sharply to the right.
The 1980’s were the age of Ronald Reagan.  As Governor of California he appointed members of the State Board of Education.  His influence continued long after he became president of the U.S. The view of history that won the textbook battles in California in 1987  was crafted by  (then) neoconservative historian Diane Ravitch  and former California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig.

The 1987 Framework for History and the Social Sciences  is  still in use today, with minimal modifications.  It   expanded African American, Native American and white women’s history coverage but remained  totally inadequate in the coverage of Latinos and Asians. The only significant change Choosing Democracy: Chicano History Will be in the California Text Books in 2017:

Big Education Ape: antiracismdsa: We Won ! Chicano History Will be in the California Textbooks in 2017 -

Big Education Ape: History Social Science Framework - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education) -

Big Education Ape: After hours of testimony, state board adopts history guidelines | EdSource -

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