I was asked by a student on Friday at my Mi Familia Vota lecture at Rice University how Texas is different from California. Or why is California different from any other state for that matter?
Well, California is debating a History-Social Science Framework’s (HSSFW) Ethnic Studies elective course. In Texas, the standards have essentially erased and marginalized communities of color in many ways. We discussed this problem in our Harvard Education Review article a few years ago (This was one of my first posts. So you can see how far this blog has come since then).
On July 14, the California State Board of Education heard testimony on the proposed elective course. Hundreds of people showed up to testify— probably 300 or so. A member of the CSBE comment that the amount of testimony set some kind of record. You view here (9 hours) public comment and the meeting. There was quite a bit of controversy about the representation of Hinduism.
Here is the video from my testimony— I hyperlinked sources. I follow with the text.
My name is Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig
I am currently a California State University Sacramento Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership
I blog on education and social justice at Cloaking Inequity.
I also serve as the elected Education Chair of the California NAACP. I am authorized to say that the California NAACP unequivocally supports ethnic studies in our state.
The California NAACP has actively worked with Assemblyperson Shirley N. Weber and others to support ethnic studies in our legislature.
Why? California’s students, educators, and other stakeholders have provided many examples and reasons in their testimony today to support ethnic studies.
We have demonstrated in our research in the Harvard Educational Review that communities of color have been historically excluded and misrepresented in our curriculum… purposefully and insidiously.
This has been a travesty.
Peer reviewed Stanford research recently found that ethnic studies students not only made gains in attendance and grades, they also increased the number of course credits they earned to graduate.