State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced Thursday that the State Board of Education voted to approve the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools, which will update and upgrade history and social science instruction in California.
“This is a big win for our students,” said Torlakson. “This document will improve the teaching and learning of history and social science. It will give our students access to the latest historical research and help them learn about the diversity of our state and the contributions of people and groups who may not have received the appropriate recognition in the past.”
The Framework provides guidance to teachers, administrators, and publishers for the teaching of history and social science. It includes more than 20 detailed classroom examples that show teachers how they can integrate their instruction to build students’ history–social science knowledge and skills, literacy skills, and English language development.
“The adoption of this Framework today is an important part of our instructional program, said President Michael Kirst of the California State Board of Education. “Hundreds of people representing broad perspectives contributed to the development of this important tool for teachers and classrooms. The new Framework will help guide classroom instruction at each grade level and will be used with other instructional resources to ensure all students have a broad understanding of history.”
The Framework adds considerable information on civic learning, consistent with the work of Torlakson’s California Task Force on K–12 Civic Learning. In addition, information was added about financial literacy; voter education; genocide; and the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans and people with disabilities to the history of California and the United States.
Many members of the public participated in the development of the Framework, which received an unprecedented amount of public comments. During the online survey period, for example, the California Department of Education (CDE) received more than 700 public comments from more than 480 different submitters. During the second field review, which lasted from December 17, 2015, to February 29, 2016, CDE received more than 10,000 e-mail comments.
“People are passionate about the way they are portrayed in history,” said Torlakson. “We are glad so many people and groups participated in our lengthy public comment and review process.”
Many topics in the Framework sparked spirited debates, including “comfort women” in World War II, the Bataan Death March and the Battle of Manila, the roles of LGBT Americans in U.S. and California history, the Armenian Genocide, and discrimination faced by Sikh Americans.