The Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) was charged with developing an Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum that shall be a guide to allow school districts to adapt their courses to better reflect the pupil demographics in their communities. Last week at the IQC meeting, California Department of Education (CDE) staff presented a brief update on the status of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. CDE recommended that revisions to the draft follow the State Board of Education guidelines and follow Assembly Bill 2016, the legislation that directed the state to create a model curriculum. This will ensure that the curriculum is written to encourage cultural understanding of how different groups have struggled and worked together, as well as highlight core ethnic studies concepts such as equality, justice, race, ethnicity, and indigeneity. CDE also recommended that it be written in language that is inclusive and supportive of multiple users.
Since the last IQC meeting in November, much work and outreach has been done by CDE after receiving thousands of public comments about the draft released in summer 2019. In October, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond hosted a panel discussion that included subject matter experts as well as legislators. The panel provided different perspectives on ethnic studies implementation at the K–12 level. CDE staff have also used this time to review, analyze, and synthesize the more than 20,000 public comments to make recommendations to the IQC in spring 2020. WestEd is currently conducting focus groups for CDE that are comprised of teachers with ethnic studies experience as well as teachers who have not taught ethnic studies but may in the future. CDE is also working with districts that have implemented ethnic studies to utilize their learnings in our recommendations.