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Korean Americans and the History Social-Science Framework

The new History-Social Science Framework for K-12 was crafted to include important elements of Korea as part of the greater Asian region. You can show your support by contacting Julia Brownley, Chair Assembly Education Committee, and Senator Mark Wyland.

Senate Bill 1278 and Assembly Bill 2069 require that the state board adopt the revised curriculum framework and evaluation criteria for instructional materials in history-social science no later than June 1, 2011. This means that the new History-Social Science Framework is essentially complete and will move forward with the new additions of Korean history and culture in the 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades, and the appendix.

Thanks to your efforts, Senate Bill 1278 passed through the Senate floor and Senate Appropriations committee after amendments were made to remove costs that threatened its movement forward; however, Assembly Bill 2069 was ultimately held in committee and unable to move through the legislative process this year as the Appropriations Committee reasoned that the costs associated with its passage were too high.

While Senate Bill 1278 has received remarkable support throughout this process, its future is not entirely secured. It has successfully passed off of the Senate floor on a 36-0 vote and is now in the State Assembly with a scheduled hearing before Assembly Education committee in late June.

The next step is to contact the Assembly Education committee via e-mail, mail, or fax and show your support for Senate Bill 1278. The Assembly Education committee is interested in obtaining a list of organizations and institutions that support this bill. Support from universities, schools, and educational organizations should be particularly helpful.

Join this movement to update Korean history in California’s classrooms by sending the letter below or your own expression of support to Julia Brownley, Chair Assembly Education Committee (916 – 319 – 2141), and Senator Mark Wyland (916 – 446 – 7382) by June 16th!

A downloadable format of this letter is located on the bottom of this page.

This letter expresses support for Senator Wyland’s SB 1278.

1) The 2010 History-Social Science Framework is current, prepares students for the 21st century, responds to changing demographics in California, and to the needs of a diverse population. Those that attended meetings of the framework committee were impressed with the knowledge and expertise of Tom Adams, Ken McDonald, Susan Martimo, the curricular supervisors, and the teachers who developed the new HSS Framework. Everyone made a great effort to create a new framework that is objective and historically accurate.
2) The 2005 History-Social Science Framework is very out-of-date. For example, it does not mention the events of September 11 or provide sufficient information on the Middle East or East Asia. It fails to offer sufficient direction for educators on major developments in United States and world history over the past fifteen years.
3) It is critical for teachers to have up-to-date educational materials that will engage students who want to understand their world. While there are serious financial problems in California, the new History-Social Science Framework is on the Internet and can be used as an important guide for teachers until new textbooks become available.
4) The cost of textbooks (that can be available in digitalized form until printed textbooks are available) need not be a deterrent to moving forward with the framework. In the contemporary world of history, social science, and civic education, there is a wealth of well-designed, standards-based materials available online from public organizations that can address quite creatively and comprehensively the areas of the framework that have been proposed for revision. Non-profits, such as the Korea Academy for Educators, can offer free educational materials to bring the new information on Korean history and culture into classrooms.
5) The delay of the new History-Social Science Framework has grave implications for teachers and students not only in California, but also throughout the United States because they will not have a choice between the controversial Texas textbooks and the California version of history because the former will be in print before California’s. For example, Asian American civil rights groups have protested the fact that the Texas Board of Education suggested that the internment of German and Italian Americans in World War II was the same as that of ; Japanese Americans (Los Angeles Times, March 28, 2010).

California must take action now in order to be in a position of leadership in history-social science education in the United States. I hope the Assembly Education Committee will continue to support SB 1278.

Thank you.

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Background information on curriculum frameworks and the current History-Social Science framework:
Curriculum frameworks provide guidance for K-12 teachers of what they are required to teach in California. Since this state has the largest population in the United States, textbook publishers print instructional materials based on what is included in frameworks adopted by the State of California.

The existing History-Social Science Framework (adopted in 2005) does not require K-12 educators to teach anything about Korean history or culture except for possible references to Korea in teaching the Cold War period in 10th grade World History and the Korean War in the 11th grade. The new History-Social Science Framework was crafted over a period of six months in 2009 and responds to changing demographics that include such important elements as cultural relevancy, the growing need for understanding world history and cultures, Asian-American history, recent developments in Asia (such as Korea’s rapid economic growth, achievements in technology and democratization) and challenges of the 21st century. The revised framework includes Korea in grades 2, 4,7,8,10,11, 12, and the Appendix.

In July of 2009, the Governor signed a bill that delays the adoption of any new curriculum frameworks until the 2013-2014 school year. If the new frameworks are not approved now, their implementation and adoption will be delayed until the 2015-2016 school year.

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