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Ending years-long and often divisive debate over ethnic studies coursework in California’s K-12 schools, the State Board of Education on Thursday unanimously approved a model curriculum to guide how the histories, struggles and contributions of Asian, Black, Latino and Native Americans — and the racism and marginalization they have experienced in the United States — will be taught to millions of students.
The new curriculum embraces an approach to ethnic studies that focuses on the four core groups but evolved to accommodate a breadth of experiences, including lessons on the Jewish, Armenian and Sikh communities in the U.S.
Although criticism still emerged Thursday, the curriculum approval culminates two years of difficult discussions, protests and rewrites over which groups should be included and how their stories should be presented. Drafts were alternately pilloried for being left-wing propaganda or capitulating to right-wing agendas, and defended as providing an essential means for students of color to see themselves reflected in public school curriculum. It comes at a time when educators are seeking concrete lessons and strategies to address racism.
“The passion that we hear about this topic illustrates why ethnic studies is so important,” board president Linda Darling-Hammond said after nearly eight hours of presentations and discussion. “Much of it is a quest by each person or each group for a sense of belonging and acknowledgement.”
Read the full story on LATimes.com.
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