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Youth, Parents, and Educators Criticize CA Department of Education’s Delayed Draft Framework and Push for Alternative

Draft History-Social Science Framework, first update in almost 15 years, fails to fulfill law, provide 21st-century education

Gay-Straight Alliance Network and Our Family Coalition are deeply disappointed by the draft History – Social Science Framework released this week by State Superintendent Tom Torlakson, which fails to meet the requirements of recent laws intended to provide students with an up-to-date social studies education.

"As a youth who advocated for the FAIR Education Act in high school, I was thrilled when Governor Brown signed the law and promised that California’s students would finally learn an honest account of history," said transgender college student and Gay-Straight Alliance Network leader Benji Delgadillo. "But three years later, and almost 15 years since the Framework was last updated, this moment is a test of that promise. Will California stay true to the Governor’s word and adopt an honest, up-to-date social studies framework that prepares students for today's world? Or will we keep putting bandaids on the same out-of-date lessons that failed me in high school?"

In 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed the FAIR Education Act into law to ensure that the contributions of LGBT people and people with disabilities, along with people of color and other historically underrepresented groups, would no longer be excluded from social studies lessons. The draft Framework issued earlier this week by the California Department of Education consists mostly of minor edits to the old framework adopted in 2000, failing to provide students with a social studies education for today’s world.

"Inclusive curriculum is key to the success of today's diverse students," said Judy Appel, Executive Director of Our Family Coalition. "After almost 15 years of waiting, this is California’s chance to update the History-Social Science Framework so that our textbooks and other instructional materials include positive and accurate representations of LGBT people, history and events. The Department’s proposal does not answer that call."

As an alternative to the California Department of Education’s draft, leading historians have released Making the Framework FAIR, a groundbreaking new Framework proposal for teaching social studies in the 21st century: http://clgbthistory.org/resources/fair-framework.

“Making the Framework FAIR shows how the California Department of Education should take the opportunity of the FAIR Education Act to bring the state’s K-12 History Framework into the 21st century,” said report lead editor Don Romesburg, a professor at Sonoma State University and co-chair of the Committee on LGBT History. “As surely as the inclusion of people of color, women, and people with disabilities transforms the way the past is understood, so does the incorporation of gender-based analyses and an appreciation of changing sexual identities and politics.  Students deserve to learn in ways that empower them with tools to conduct diverse forms of analysis, multiple interpretations of evidence, and exploration of change and continuity over time.”

The Department of Education has posted the draft Framework for 60 days of public comment, before it is presented to the Instructional Quality Commission for review. GSA Network and Our Family Coalition remain committed to holding the state to its moral and legal obligation, and urge parents, students, educators and concerned citizens to voice their support for the revisions proposed in the Making the Framework FAIR report through the California Department of Education's History-Social Science Curriculum Frameworks website: at http://surveys2.cde.ca.gov/s.asp?k=141114546680.  The comment period is open until November 25, 2014.

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Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network) is a national youth leadership organization that empowers youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools by training student leaders and supporting student-led Gay-Straight Alliance clubs throughout the country. GSA Network operates the GSA Network of California and the National Association of GSA Networks, which unites 39 statewide networks of GSA clubs. www.gsanetwork.org

Our Family Coalition advances equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) families with children through support, education, and advocacy. http://www.ourfamily.org

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