Tuesday, May 15, 2018

SB 895 - Establish a Vietnamese-American Refugee Experience Curriculum in School







About 300  Vietnamese-Americans showed up in Sacramento for the State Senate hearing on the SB 895 sponsored by State Senator Janet Nguyen and co-author by Assembly Member Ash Kalra.  

This bill would require the commission to develop and submit to the state board, on or before December 31, 2022, and the state board to adopt, modify, or revise, on or before March 31,2023, a model curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, as specified, for use in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. The bill would encourage a school district, charter school, or county office of education that maintains any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that does not otherwise offer a standards-based Vietnamese American studies curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, Vietnamese boat people, and the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, to offer a course of study based on the model curriculum. 




CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

SENATE BILLNo. 895


Introduced by Senator Nguyen
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Kalra)

January 12, 2018


An act to add Section 51207 to the Education Code, relating to pupil instruction.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 895, as amended, Nguyen. Pupil instruction: Vietnamese American refugee experience: model curriculum.

Existing law requires the adopted course of study for grades 7 to 12, inclusive, to include, among other subjects, the social sciences. Existing law encourages instruction in the area of social sciences that may include instruction on the Vietnam War, including a component drawn from personal testimony of Southeast Asians who were involved in the Vietnam War and men and women who contributed to the war effort on the homefront, as specified. Existing law requires the State Board of Education, with the assistance of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, to establish a list of textbooks and other instructional materials that highlight the contributions of minorities in the development of California and the United States. Existing law establishes the Instructional Quality Commission and requires the commission to, among other things, recommend curriculum frameworks to the state board.
This bill would require the commission to develop and submit to the state board, on or before December 31, 2020, 2022, and the state board to adopt, modify, or revise, on or before March 31, 2021, 2023, a model curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, as specified, for use in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. The bill would encourage a school district, charter school, or county office of education that maintains any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that does not otherwise offer a standards-based Vietnamese American studies curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, Vietnamese boat people, and the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, to offer a course of study based on the model curriculum. The bill would require the model curriculum to be developed with participation from specified entities, including, among others, Vietnamese American refugees and Vietnamese American cultural centers and community groups located in California. The bill would provide that implementation of its provisions is subject to the receipt of grants, donations, or other financial support from private or public sources for its purposes, including, but not limited to, an appropriation in the annual Budget Act or another statute.

Vote: majority   Appropriation: no   Fiscal Committee: yes   Local Program: no  

BILL TEXT


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The State of California is committed to providing excellent educational opportunities to all of its pupils.
(b) There are 92 languages other than English spoken throughout the state, with the primary languages being Arabic, Armenian, Cantonese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
(c) There is a growing body of academic research that shows the importance of culturally meaningful and relevant curriculum.
(d) The state’s educational standards should be guided by core values of equity, inclusiveness, and universally high expectations.
(e) The state is committed to its obligation to ensure its youth are college prepared and career ready, while graduating 100 percent of its pupils.
(f) The implementation of various culturally relevant courses within California’s curriculum that are A–G approved, with the objective of preparing all pupils to be global citizens with an appreciation for the contributions of multiple cultures, will close the achievement gap, reduce pupil truancy, increase pupil enrollment, reduce dropout rates, and increase graduation rates.
(g) For the past 40 years, Vietnamese American refugees have enriched the social, cultural, and economic landscape of California and have achieved success in many professional fields, including business, politics, law, science, education, literature, journalism, sports, and entertainment.
(h) The state encourages the participation of pupils, community members, and members of California Vietnamese American communities in the development of a model curriculum that recognizes the importance of survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, including Vietnamese-American Vietnamese American refugees, Vietnamese boat people, and members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.
(i) The state currently encourages the incorporation of survivor, rescuer, liberator, and witness oral testimony into the teaching of human rights, the Holocaust, and genocide, including the Armenian, Cambodian, Darfur, and Rwandan genocides.
(j) Currently, the instructional resources available for use in California public schools do not include sufficient oral testimony from survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, including Vietnamese American refugees, Vietnamese boat people, and members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces in the United States and especially in California.
(k) The state acknowledges the need to elevate tragic personal stories like those of the Vietnamese boat people who, after the fall of Saigon in 1975, risked their lives escaping communism only to spend weeks or months at sea battling storms, diseases, starvation, and pirates.
(l) The state acknowledges the importance of the history and experience of the more than 250,000 members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces who were sent to reeducation camps after the fall of Saigon, where many spent up to 17 years in captivity and more than 20,000 died before they were released.
(m) The state acknowledges that oral histories can help pupils better relate to and understand different perspectives in curriculum by providing first-person accounts from individuals who have experienced some of the most tragic times in international history, helping the subject become more than statistics on a page.
(n) The County of Orange, along with the City of San Jose, are home to the largest Vietnamese populations outside of Vietnam.
(o) It is in the best interest of all people and the future of this state to ensure that each school district, charter school, and county office of education has access to a model curriculum and culturally accurate instructional materials relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, including the experiences of the Vietnamese boat people and the members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.

SEC. 2.

 Section 51207 is added to the Education Code, to read:
51207.
 (a) The Instructional Quality Commission shall develop, and the state board shall adopt, modify, or revise, a model curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, that began with the fall of Saigon in 1975, including oral testimony of survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, including Vietnamese-American Vietnamese American refugees, Vietnamese boat people, and members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, to ensure quality standards and materials for this area of study. The model curriculum shall be developed with participation from Vietnamese American cultural centers and community groups located in California, survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, Vietnamese American refugees, and a group of representatives of local educational agencies, a majority of which are kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, and teachers who have relevant experience or education backgrounds in the study and teaching of Vietnamese American history. The model curriculum developed pursuant to this subdivision shall include curriculum appropriate for use in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.
(b) The model curriculum shall be written as a guide to allow school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education to adapt their related courses to best meet the educational needs of their communities. The model curriculum developed for use in high schools shall include examples of courses offered by local educational agencies that have been approved as meeting the A–G admissions requirements of the University of California and the California State University, including, to the extent possible, course outlines for those courses.
(c) When teaching about the Vietnam War and the postwar period, the Legislature encourages the incorporation of writings that represent all perspectives of the refugee experience, including oral testimony by survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, and Vietnamese refugees.
(d) The model curriculum shall include discussion of the Vietnamese boat people and members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, the reasons behind the exodus, the hardships faced by the Vietnamese people attempting to flee who were apprehended by the communist government, and the conditions that led to the resettlement of Vietnamese people in America.
(e) On or before December 31, 2020, 2022, the Instructional Quality Commission shall submit the model curriculum to the state board, and the state board shall adopt, modify, or revise the model curriculum on or before March 31, 2021. 2023.
(f) The Instructional Quality Commission shall provide a minimum of 45 days for public comment before submitting the model curriculum to the state board.
(g) Beginning in the school year following the adoption of the model curriculum pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (e), each school district, charter school, or county office of education maintaining any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that does not otherwise offer standards-based Vietnamese American studies curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, Vietnamese boat people, and the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, is encouraged to offer to pupils a course of study relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience based on the model curriculum. A school district, charter school, or county office of education that serves pupils in any of grades 7 to 12, inclusive, that elects to offer a course of study in the Vietnamese American refugee experience pursuant to this subdivision, shall offer the course as an elective in the social sciences or world history and shall make the course available in at least one year during a pupil’s enrollment in grades 7 to 12, inclusive.
(h) It is the intent of the Legislature that local educational agencies that maintain high schools submit course outlines for studies relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience for approval as A-G A–G courses.
(i) For purposes of this section, “oral testimony” means the firsthand accounts of significant historical events presented in a format that includes, but is not limited to, in-person testimony, video, or a multimedia option, such as a DVD or an online video.
(j) The implementation of this section is subject to the receipt of grants, donations, or other financial support from private or public sources for its purposes, including, but not limited to, an appropriation in the annual Budget Act or another statute.

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