South Pasadena Unified School District, Establish Schools as Safe Havens and Create 21st Century Learners Now
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Dear South Pasadena Unified School District School Board, Superintendent, District Staff, and SPUSD teachers,
Please establish the district as a safe haven for learners who will be shielded from ICE on or near campus and advance racial literacy and cultural competency by accelerating implementation of the ethnic studies, FAIR Act, multilingual education, and other parts of Ed Code scheduled to take effect in 2019 and beyond.
Why is this important?
Our city and our school board have both passed a resolution highlighting the values of civility, inclusion, and diversity in our community. The district must take the next step and affirm non-cooperation with ICE along the lines of this model resolution. In tandem with that resolution, SPUSD must accelerate the implementation of cultural competency curriculum to reduce ignorance and affirm a full spectrum of common histories.
Recently two bright, curious kids brought the entirety of a famous children’s illustrator’s work to the attention of their teacher and classmates. Unfortunately, Theodor (Dr. Seuss) Geisel’s early work depicted racial stereotypes and traded in blatant anti-black, anti-Japanese, and crudely caricatured Arab images. The children simply wanted to spark discussion of the entirety of the artist’s career. This is valuable information for all children to explore not just the children sharing the same race or ethnicity as the disparaging images Dr. Seuss drew.
We should embrace the children’s refreshing honesty and eagerness to discuss Dr. Seuss’ work. We can and do already create many spaces for children to explore other cultures and debate how people over time have grappled with difference. What the ethnic studies curriculum law (California Assembly Bill No. 2016) passed last year will do is create statewide standards so all school districts in the state can begin implementing this material K-12 in 2019.
We don’t have to wait for 2019. What South Pasadena Unified can do as an exemplary district is start now to seek out professional development for teachers, enlist experts in the community, and pass a resolution that all students take a high school course in ethnic studies as a graduation requirement. Students in the state’s biggest districts, LAUSD, SFUSD, SDUSD, and others, already have this high school ethnic studies graduation requirement in place. We can ensure that all elements of the FAIR Act, passed in 2012, are taught so that students understand who Harvey Milk was, or can address FDR’s polio with sensitivity.
The district has proven itself a leader previously. Parents in our diverse community helped establish an extremely popular dual language immersion program prior to the passage of the Multilingual Languages Act of 2016. Children who are heritage speakers and monolingual English speakers can both learn foreign languages at a young age.
We are poised to create resilient, bold, multifaceted learners in our district — global citizens who can treat others with sensitivity, deep understanding, and respect. It begins with providing a safe haven environment that nurtures and respects all by fulfilling the mission of universal free public education, and extends to a curriculum that is relevant, inclusive, and fosters mutuality. Let’s move quickly to seize that future for our kids.
217 Sally McKissick May 11, 2017 216 Drew Sevilla May 11, 2017 215 Halley Sanchez May 10, 2017 214 MJ Gravel May 10, 2017 213 Stephanie Foley May 10, 2017 212 Debbie Burkart May 10, 2017 211 Bonnie Tang May 09, 2017 210 Shannon Curtis May 09, 2017 209 Danzy Senna May 09, 2017 208 Juliette Kurth May 09, 2017 207 John Stifel May 09, 2017 206 Nick Taylor May 09, 2017 205 Lillian Montalvo May 09, 2017 204 Holly Jones May 09, 2017 203 Rebecca Velasco May 09, 2017 202 Thomas Benton May 09, 2017 201 Una Jost May 09, 2017 200 Ann Binney May 09, 2017 199 Cassandra Kaldor May 09, 2017 198 Jacqueline Ficht May 09, 2017 197 Cynthia Mata-flores May 09, 2017 196 Abelardo de la Peña Jr. May 09, 2017 195 Deborah Cornwell May 09, 2017 194 Andy Perry May 09, 2017 193 karen jones May 09, 2017 192 Jennifer McNulty May 09, 2017 191 David Beadle May 09, 2017 190 Vicki Vlasnik May 09, 2017 189 Marian Sunabe May 09, 2017 188 Debra Beadle May 09, 2017 187 Jennifer De Ladurantey May 08, 2017 186 Joy Press May 08, 2017 185 Timothy Hillman May 08, 2017 184 Elizabeth Nowlin May 08, 2017 183 Owen Freeman May 07, 2017 182 Michelle Trafficante May 07, 2017 181 Timothy Hillman May 06, 2017 180 Tanya Parker May 06, 2017 179 Luis Changkuon May 05, 2017 178 angel yoo-taguchi May 04, 2017 177 Marie Chung May 03, 2017 176 mona rosenthal Apr 30, 2017 175 Jae Jin Lee Apr 30, 2017 174 Sheila Rossi Apr 26, 2017 173 Magela Rathbone Moffett Apr 23, 2017 172 Alina Mehdi Apr 23, 2017 171 Anna Proulx Apr 21, 2017 170 Sadie Medina Apr 20, 2017 169 Delcey Kawasaki Apr 20, 2017 168 Arthur Cho Apr 20, 2017
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