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HSS Framework Moves to State Board

created Mar 29, 2016 08:29 AM

Final IQC Meeting Focuses on Public Comment

by Nancy McTygue

Thursday, March 24 was a very difficult day, but I’m pleased to report that the History-Social Science Framework has now been formally submitted for adoption to the California State Board of Education.   In a day-long meeting, the History-Social Science Subject Matter Committee (HSS SMC) of the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) voted unanimously on a series of final recommendations after an extensive period of public comment and discussion. 

The IQC received more than 10,000 individual written comments on the draft in its last formal public review, which concluded on February 29.   Many of the individual comments were duplicative and included petitions on a variety of topics.   California Department of Education (CDE) staffers took those comments, distilled them down to 1,511 separate comments.  As the primary writers, our job was to review those comments and provide recommendations on each one to the HSS SMC, who then voted to accept, amend, or not accept the recommendations by grade level. (To see the list of comments and our initial recommendations, visit the meeting agenda page and scroll down to "summary table."  An updated list with the SMC's final recommendations will be posted soon on the CDE website).

As in past meetings, there was considerable public comment on a number of topics, including the Armenian Genocide, the WWII campaign in the Philippines, Native American Two-Spirits, and most contentiously, 6th and 7th Grade content on the teaching of ancient and medieval India, or South Asia.  More than 90 members of the public spoke at the hearing; none identified themselves as K-12 educators. 

During the meeting, we provided both an overview of our process as well as a summary of our recommendations for each chapter or group of chapters to help inform the SMC’s deliberations. Some of our recommendations were accepted; others were not. In the coming weeks, CDE staff will provide an updated list of recommended edits for the public and the State Board of Education, who are scheduled to review and hopefully vote to adopt a final draft at their May 11-12, 2016 meeting.

Last week I wrote a blog post suggesting that the relatively polite and respectful revision process stood in contrast to the current incivility on display in our presidential campaign.  I wouldn’t write that today.  I expected disagreement, but the behavior from some members of the public could legitimately be classified as disrespectful and even cruel.  Not everyone behaved this way – a number of citizens rose above the fray, demonstrating an admirable level of strength and grace under considerable pressure. If the Framework can help foster that level of civility and civic engagement in our students and future citizens, then we will have truly done something worthwhile.  

 
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