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California History/Social Science Framework

The Institute continues with its efforts to convince the History/Social Science Framework committee to include the history  and contributions of the Chicano/Mexicano people in the next Framework, and thus the future textbooks.

Testimony: April 2, 2009

Lorena V. Márquez, Doctoral Candidate, University of California, San Diego 

I was born and raised in Northern California. My parents were migrant workers and thus my world view was centered on my lived experiences as a poor Mexican immigrant child who had to navigate a series of often culturally hostile environments. To make matters worse, as a Spanish native speaker, the CA public school system made it so that often we were ridiculed rather than encouraged when we attempted to speak English. 

You may think to yourself, Lorena, you turned out OK, so what could you possibly complain about? It is not a complaint that I wish to raise but rather a concern that we are turning our backs on the largest ethnic minority in California—the increasing Latino/a population—by not providing them (and others) with a true and representative view of U.S. history. 

Unfortunately, it was not until I was an undergraduate at Sacramento State that I learned about Chicano/a history. I then understood the complexities and multi-layered history that makes the fabric of this country. Had it not been for my exposure to this history in college I would have never found my passion for teaching. 

I often give Chicano/a history workshops to high school students at no expense. Without a doubt, I am always asked the same question: “Why don’t our teachers teach us this?” These high school students feel as if though they were cheated of a true education. I don’t blame them. I simply state that the teachers are being held accountable to a CA state curriculum that does not include their history. They complain that they only learn--if they’re lucky--about César Chávez. Again, I can only encourage them to do research on their own. 

I am here to ask that you consider these students and hear their voices. I ask that you include the history of Chicanos/as and other communities of color because in doing so, you not only acknowledge their existence, but most importantly, their contributions and legacies to the United States. 

Thank you for your time and attention. 


Testimony;  Feb. 6, 2009.

Dr. Duane Campbell,  Professor of Education. Cal. State University –Sacramento.


It is urgent that the History-Social Science Framework be revised to provide an accurate history of the contributions of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, Latinos and Asians to the history of the state and of the nation. The current Framework reflects the historiography of the 1950’s.  It is substantially  out of date.

The 1987- 2005 Framework expanded African American, Native American, and women’s history coverage but remains  totally inadequate in the coverage of Latinos and Asians—both significant population groups in the development of  history of the West. The only significant change between the 1985 and the 2005 adopted Framework was the addition of a new cover, a cover letter,  and additions of  photos such as  of Cesar Chavez (For a detailed analysis of this curriculum conflict, see Cornbleth & Waugh, 1995, and Campbell, 2004) .  Latinos  currently make up 48.1 percent of California’s student population and Asians make up 8.1 %. 

By 2003, major national organizations and legislatures have  recognized a need to substantially revise preparation of young people for citizenship.  The Civic Missions of Schools project said:


History classes  should help young people acquire and learn to use the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives. Competent and responsible citizens:


1)    Are informed and thoughtful; have a grasp and an appreciation of history and the fundamental processes of American democracy; have an understanding and awareness of public and community issues; and have the ability to obtain information, think critically, and enter into dialogue among others with different perspectives. “

The Civic Mission of Schools.  (http://www.civicmissionofschools.org) The Carnegie Corporation.


In a society as diverse as California, the  need for history and an understanding of  public issues must be inclusive rather than exclusive. You  should  re write the History-Social Science Framework so that all of our students - members of the California’s  diverse communities- recognize their own role in building our society and economy. 


The  just published  Democracy at Risk by the  Forum for Education and Democracy  says it well, “ The welfare of our nation rests heavily upon our system of public education.  We strive to provide all of our children with equal access to a high-quality, free education because we know that without it, our democractic way of life will be at peril. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “ If Americans desire to be both ignorant and free, they want what never has been and whill never be. “ Indeed, it is our democratic system of governing, based upon the twin pillars of equal rights and responsibilities , which requires we have a system of public education” ( Darling-Hammond and Wood, 2008). (http://www.forumforeducation.org/)


 California should be leading the way in preparing our young people for civic life.  We are not.  Instead, we are currently restricted by the out of date and substantially limited History-Social Science Framework.   The Framework should be updated to include scholarship developed since 1980.


Dr. Duane Campbell,



Author, Choosing Democracy: A practical guide to multicultural education.  ( 4th. edition). Allyn/Bacon. 2010.


The Cesar Chavez Project on Democracy and Political Participation.

Institute for Democracy and Education. Sacramento. 

Testimony:  April 2,2009.  Lorena Marquez.