Thursday, April 09, 2015

Letters on the inclusion of Mexican American History in the History/Social Science Framework

Cesar Chavez and Duane Campbell 1972
History /Social Science Framework Committee   (Sample letter)

Re: Inclusion of  Mexican American/ Latino history in draft Framework

I am a professor (emeritus) of  Education at CSU Sacramento.  For thirty-five years I prepared new teachers for California schools.  One of my particular emphasis was preparing future teachers to teach history and social studies.  You can find a record of this in my most recent book, Choosing Democracy: a practical guide to multicultural education. Allyn and Bacon  (4th edit. 2010)
Based upon this experience I strongly urge you to revise the current draft of the History Framework to include a more adequate recording of the history of California and the nation by including the significant contributions of Mexicans and Mexican Americans to this history.  You really can’t have a fair and balanced history without extending more information on this topic.  Latinos comprise nearly 39% of the state population, and descendants of Mexican Americans and Latinos now constitute over 52% of the students in our schools.
As I have argued in my writings, and in testimony to the drafting committee during the 2009 attempt to revise the framework, children and young adults need to see themselves in the curriculum.  Students, particularly students of color, have low levels of attachment to California and U.S.  civics messages in significant part because the government institution they encounter the most- the schools-  too often ignore the students own history, cultures and experiences.

A fundamental way to engage students in civic culture is to engage them in their own schools and communities.  That is where the students most encounter civic opportunities.

The 1987/2001 California History Social Science Framework still in use today to guide the selection of California textbooks   expanded African American, Native American, and women’s history coverage but remains totally inadequate in the coverage of Latinos and Asians.   When the 52%  % of students who are Latino , and the 9  % who are Asian do not see themselves as part of history,  for many their sense of self is marginalized.   Marginalization negatively impacts their connections with school and their success at school.  It contributes to an up to the high drop out rate for Latinos and some Asian students.  A more accurate, more complete history  would provide some students with a  a sense of self, of direction,  of purpose, even a sense that  they should stay in school and learn more. History and social science classes  should help young people acquire and learn to use the civics  skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives.   

I have read the draft document and I propose the following additions:

On  page 351, Line 2014, amend this to include additional material on the 1990’s and the current era such as:

From 1994 on, political campaigns initiated in California pursued a series of anti immigrant  propositions, laws and regulations ( California Prop. 187, 227). While all but one of the provisions of Proposition 187 were blocked by the federal courts as unconstitutional,  the campaigns led to the 1996 Immigration Reform Act by the U.S. Congress mandating severe benefit cuts and increased border enforcement.

From 2003 political controversy  over immigration became national issues along with the issues of low quality public schools and lack of employment opportunities.  The rapidly growing Latino community became increasingly politically active, increasing their voter registration and participation.  This changed the political make up and partisan divisions first in the California legislature and then in the federal congress.  Latinos became the largest ethnic group in California in 2010, a plurality of all residents, and Latino children constituted more than 51% of all public school students.

I propose that you include this in a revised framework.  Thank you for your consideration.
Please acknowledge receipt of this letter.


Dr. Duane E. Campbell

Director Mexican American Digital History Project.
Democracy and Education Institute

Why you should write a letter. How to write a letter. 
We have a unique opportunity to change the history books in California  K-12 to include Chicano/Mexican American history- but we must act now. Time is passing. 
Mexican American/ Chicano history is currently substantially absent from public school textbooks and curriculum in California- and it has been since 1986.  Latino student political non participation and alienation from school is significantly caused by Latino absence from the K-12 textbooks and curriculum.
On behalf of the Mexican American Digital History project, we  ask that you  write a letter to the review committee for the revision of the History/Social Science framework.  Now is a good time to get this done (a guide to writing such a letter is here

We ask you to
1.    Write a letter  to the Framework Committee encouraging the inclusion of  Mexican American/Latino history in the revised framework.  It is most effective to make specific recommendations of material to include- see samples. To be effective your letter should arrive by May 1, 2015.

2.   Send your letter to
3.  Send a copy to the Mexican American Digital History project at
information is available at the site above.

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