BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                              Senator Carol Liu, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:              AB 101            
          |Author:    |Alejo                                                |
          |Version:   |June 1, 2015                               Hearing   |
          |           |Date:   July 8, 2015                                 |
          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
          |Consultant:|Lenin Del Castillo                                   |
          |           |                                                     |
          Subject:  Pupil instruction:  ethnic studies

          This bill requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction  
          (SPI) to oversee the development of a model curriculum framework  
          in ethnic studies and establish an advisory committee on ethnic  
          studies.  Additionally, the bill provides that all school  
          districts serving students in grades 7 to 12 may offer ethnic  
          studies as an elective course.  

          Existing law:

          1)Establishes the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC),  
            formerly known as the Curriculum Commission, as an advisory  
            body to the State Board of Education (SBE).  The IQC is an  
            advisory body to the SBE and is responsible for recommending  
            curriculum frameworks, developing criteria for the evaluation  
            of instructional materials, evaluate and recommend adoption of  
            instructional materials.  
            (Education Code  33530 and  60204)

          2)Prohibits the SBE from adopting instructional materials or  
            undertaking the work of the IQC until the 2015-16 school year.  
             (EC  60200.7)

          3)Specifically authorizes the SBE to consider the adoption of a  
            revised curriculum framework and evaluation criteria for  


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            history-social science.  (EC  60200.8)

          4)Requires IQC to consider incorporating into the history-social  
            science framework content on specific historical events,  
            including the Armenian, Cambodian, Darfur, and Rwandan  
            genocides and the Great Irish Famine of 1845 to 1850.   
            Existing law also encourages the California Department of  
            Education to incorporate into curriculum resources for  
            teachers, age-appropriate materials on the Armenian,  
            Cambodian, Darfur, and Rwandan genocides.  (EC  51226.3)

          5)Requires the IQC, whenever the history-social science  
            framework is revised, to do all of the following (as  
            appropriate and based on the subject matter of the course):

             a)   Receive input from civics learning experts for purposes  
               of integrating civics learning content, concepts and skills  
               with the standards.

             b)   Consider how civics and history instruction includes the  
               application of that content to develop the competence and  
               skills needed for civic engagement.

             c)   Ensure that voter education information is included in  
               the American government and civics curriculum at the high  
               school level.  

             d)   Ensure that specified historical documents are  
               incorporated into the framework.  (EC  33540)

          6)States Legislative intent that when the history-social science  
            framework is revised after January 1, 2015, the Instructional  
            Quality Commission (IQC) consider whether and how to  
            incorporate the College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for  
            Social Studies State Standards into that framework.  (EC   

          7)Requires the IQC, during the next revision of the  
            history-social science framework, to consider including and  
            recommending for adoption by the State Board of Education  
            (SBE), instruction on the election of President Barack Obama  
            and the significance of the United States electing its first  
            African American President.  
            (EC  33543)


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          This bill:

          1)Makes various findings and declarations regarding the  
            importance of instruction in ethnic studies.

          2)Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to  
            oversee the development of a model curriculum framework and  
            other support systems to ensure quality courses in  
            partnerships with universities with ethnic studies programs.

          3)Requires that the model curriculum meet the A-G approval  
            requirements of the Regents of the University of California.

          4)Requires the SPI, on or before the 2016-17 school year, to  
            establish an Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee (Committee)  
            comprised of a majority of educators with experience in  
            teaching ethnic studies from public high schools and  
            institutions of higher education.

          5)Requires the Committee to advise, assist, and make  
            recommendations to the SBE on programs, curriculum content,  
            and other issues related to ethnic studies.

          6)Requires, by June 30, 2016, the SPI to submit to the SBE a  
            plan to fully implement this section that includes, at a  
            minimum, key actions needed to overcome any challenges  
            foreseen to implementing this section, timetables, staffing  
            responsibilities, and budget requirements.


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          7)Provides that school districts enrolling students in grades 7  
            to 12, in the school year following the adoption of the model  
            curriculum, may offer to students as an elective course in the  
            social sciences, a course of study in ethnic studies based on  
            the model curriculum.

          1)Need for the bill.  According to the author's office, "given  
            California's annual increase in diversity, it is especially  
            important that students build knowledge of the various racial  
            and ethnic groups in our state.  Expanding the high school  
            curriculum to include ethnic studies will help students relate  
            to historical events and have a better understanding of their  
            own history and history of other neighbors.  Learning of the  
            struggles for equality will teach students what it means to be  
            an American."  The author's office further indicates that  
            "developing ethnic studies programs in public high schools is  
            an integral part of cultivating a classroom environment that  
            is accepting of diverse cultures."  

          2)Current revision of the history-social science framework.   
            Academic content standards define the knowledge, concepts, and  
            skills that students should acquire at each grade level.   
            Curricular frameworks are the blueprint for implementing the  
            standards, and include criteria by which instructional  
            materials are evaluated.  The history-social science framework  
            was last adopted in 2005.  The revision to the history-social  
            science framework was suspended in July 2009, and subsequently  
            resumed in July 2014.  The draft revision was released for  
            field review in September 2014, is expected to be presented to  
            the State Board of Education (SBE) in November 2015, and  
            expected to be adopted in May 2016.  

          The draft generated extensive public comment (nearly 700  
            comments).  The Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) also  
            determined that more subject matter expertise was needed for  
            certain areas (including some mandated for inclusion by  
            legislation), and submitted a budget request for $124,000 to  
            hire experts through an interagency agreement.  These events  
            caused significant delays in the production of the revised  
            framework, which was originally scheduled for adoption in May  


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          A schedule once existed for the revision and updating of  
            curricular frameworks.  That schedule was suspended in 2009  
            when the prohibition on that process was imposed.  Current law  
            continues to reference an eight-year cycle for revisions to  
            frameworks and the adoption of instructional materials.  It is  
            likely that the next revision of the history-social science  
            framework will occur in several years.

            The draft history-social science framework developed by the  
            IQC, describes high school elective courses in ethnic studies  
            as follows: 

                    "Ethnic studies is an interdisciplinary field of  
                    study that encompasses many subject areas  
                    including history, literature, economics,  
                    sociology, and political science, among others.  
                    In this course, students focus on an in-depth  
                    comparative study of the history, politics,  
                    culture, contributions, challenges, and current  
                    status of ethnic groups in the United States. It  
                    is also important for students to learn the  
                    national origins of ethnic groups and their  
                    transnational linkages. In Ethnic Studies,  
                    students examine the process of racial and ethnic  
                    formation of ethnic minorities in a variety of  
                    contexts: political, legal, social, historical,  
                    economic, and cultural. The course concentrates,  
                    to a great extent, on the experiences of various  
                    ethnic minorities in the United States and the  
                    ways in which their experiences were impacted by  
                    the issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and  
                    the interaction among different ethnic groups.  
                    Students will also address how individuals within  
                    specific ethnic groups think and feel about  
                    themselves and their group as it can be  
                    represented by literature, memoirs, art, and  
                    music. To understand ethnic identity in their  
                    local communities, students can volunteer with  
                    local community organizations and centers that  
                    serve specific ethnic populations." 


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          3)Is the bill necessary?  Current law provides for the  
            Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) to advise on  
            curriculum and instructional materials.  In addition,  
            various Education Code provisions already call for the  
            incorporation of curriculum, textbooks and materials  
            which highlight the role and contribution of various  
            ethnic groups in California and United States history,  
            and the existing history social-science framework for  
            grades K-12 identifies ethnic studies as an elective  
            course of study for grades 9-12.  Further, several school  
            districts have already made completion of a course in  
            ethnic studies a local graduation requirement, including  
            the Los Angeles Unified School District, Montebello  
            Unified School District, and El Rancho Unified School  
            District.  San Francisco Unified School District has  
            resolved to offer ethnic studies courses at all high  
            schools, and explore ways create such a graduation  
            requirement in the next five years.  As such, is a state  
            prescribed model curriculum in ethnic studies as proposed  
            by this measure necessary?   

            According to data reported by the California Department of  
            Education (CDE), 8,129 students were enrolled in ethnic  
            studies courses in the 2012-13 school year.  Of those, 4,379  
            students were enrolled in 435 social science ethnic studies  
            courses in 100 schools, and 3,750 students were enrolled in  
            137 language arts (ethnic literature) courses in 49 schools.   
            However, only 108 of the 435 social science courses and 97 of  
            the 137 language arts courses were identified as approved A-G  

          4)A-G requirements.  Typically, California high schools submit  
            their courses to the University of California (UC) for A-G  
            review during the annual "A-G" update cycle.  There is subject  
            area course criteria that must be met and can include  
            prerequisite work, substantial reading and writing, and  
            laboratory activities.  Once approved, the courses are added  
            to the school's official "A-G" course list maintained by the  

            This bill requires that the model curriculum meet the A-G  


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            approval requirements of the Regents of the UC.  However, it  
            is unclear how this would be accomplished.  As described  
            above, the A-G course development and submission process is  
            initiated by a particular high school and is also course  
            specific (not the curriculum which the bill requires).  Would  
            the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) or State Board  
            of Education submit the model curriculum to the UC for review  
            on behalf of all California schools?  Additionally, would the  
            UC even accept the curriculum for A-G review since the  
            existing process is for individual courses?     

          5)Model curriculum.  The Superintendent of Public Instruction  
            (SPI) is required to develop or revise a model curriculum on  
            the life and work of Cesar Chavez and submit the model  
            curriculum to the State Board of Education (SBE) for adoption.  
             The SPI is required to distribute the model curriculum to  
            each school upon adoption.  

            The Model Curriculum for Human Rights and Genocide, adopted by  
            the SBE, is to be made available to schools serving grades  
            7-12 when funding is available, and requires the Model  
            Curriculum to be available on the website of the California  
            Department of Education (CDE).  

            Ethnic studies courses are taught in different disciplines  
            such as history, social sciences, and literature.  For  
            example, Montebello Unified School District offers a history  
            elective called "Mexican American Studies" and an  
            English/Language Arts elective called "African American  
            Literature" while the San Francisco Unified School district  
            offers a social studies elective called "Asian American  

            This bill does not specify the types of courses that are to be  
            included in the model curriculum.  Presumably, the advisory  
            committee that the bill proposes to establish would be tasked  
            with this effort which could be challenging given the various  
            disciplines and broad spectrum of courses to choose from.  

          6)Fiscal impact.  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
            Committee, this bill would result in General Fund  


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            administrative costs of in the range of $300,000 to $500,000  
            for the CDE to develop a model curriculum framework in ethnic  
            studies, and annual General Fund costs of approximately  
            $300,000 to establish and convene the Ethnic Studies Advisory  
          7)Related and prior legislation.  AB 104 (Committee on Budget,  
            Chapter 13, Statutes of 2015), among other things, imposes a  
            fee on publishers who submit history-social science materials  
            to the SBE for consideration.

          AB 740 (Weber, 2015) requires the SPI to recommend to the State  
            Board of Education (SBE), by January 1, 2017, a schedule for  
            the regular update of academic content standards in all  
            subjects for which standards have been adopted by the SBE.   
            The schedule must be aligned to the current eight-year cycle  
            of curriculum framework updates and instructional materials  
            adoptions.  This bill is scheduled to be heard in this  
            Committee on July 15, 2015.

            AB 1750 (Alejo, 2014) would have required the Instructional  
            Quality Commission to evaluate existing standards, curricula,  
            programs, and training regarding ethnic studies at the high  
            school level.  This bill failed passage in the Senate  
            Appropriations Committee.

            SB 1214 (Cedillo, 2008) required the SBE to provide for such  
            inclusion when it next revises and adopts the curriculum for  
            the history-social science framework and 
            instructional materials on or after January 1, 2009.  SB 1214  
            was vetoed by the Governor, whose veto message read:

                    I vetoed a substantively similar bill two years  
                    ago on this issue, and I have consistently vetoed  
                    legislation that has attempted to mandate  
                    specific details or events into areas of  
                    instruction.  The State Board of Education  
                    adopted content standards are developed by a  
                    diverse group of experts and are intentionally  
                    broad in order to allow coverage of various  
                    events, developments, and issues.  I continue to  
                    believe that the State should establish rigorous  
                    standards and frameworks, but refrain from being  
                    overly prescriptive in specific school  


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          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
          California Federation of Teachers
          California Immigrant Policy Center
          California School Boards Association
          California Teachers Association
          Los Angeles Unified School District
          National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter

           California Right to Life Committee, Inc.

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