CFA Voices Continued Support for a Robust K-12 Ethnic Studies Curriculum

During the legislative session that just recently ended, CFA leaders were at the front of one of the most talked about policy matters in California and across the country: ethnic studies. As sponsors of AB 1460 (Weber), which would make ethnic studies a graduation requirement in the CSU, CFA members provided extensive testimony at legislative hearings and in lobby visits during this past year. As a two-year bill, we will continue to advocate for AB 1460 next year. CSU faculty also have been integral to the development of ethnic studies curricula and requirements at the K-12 level.

This past Friday, CFA activists joined a large gathering of educators, stakeholders and members of the public at the California Department of Education (CDE) for discussion over whether and how the state should proceed with a proposed ethnic studies curriculum draft for K-12 schools. The K-12 ethnic studies curriculum was prompted by the passage and signing into law of AB 2016, during the 2015-16 legislative session.  

During this meeting of CDE’s Instructional Quality Commission, Theresa Montaño, Chair of CFA’s Teacher Education Caucus and Professor of Chicana/o Studies at CSU Northridge testified on this critical issue: “Ethnic studies is about equity. Ethnic studies saves lives. We know it and we will not stop…the movement to save California ethnic studies is emerging more united and stronger. That is a beautiful thing, we will not tire. Our struggle will not be over until every Californian has experienced an authentic ethnic studies course.”

By all accounts, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Assemblymember Shirley Weber committed to continued support for the draft curriculum, which will be revised over the coming months. While this issue certainly has a long path yet to navigate, one thing is abundantly clear: ethnic studies is here to stay. And make no mistake about it, CFA will be there at every step of the process to ensure that this curriculum is something of which we can be proud and that will enhance K-12 students’ education, lives, and interactions with others, both now and as adults.