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.
171 Anna Proulx Apr 21, 2017 170 Sadie Medina Apr 20, 2017 169 Delcey Kawasaki Apr 20, 2017 168 Arthur Cho Apr 20, 2017 167 Marianne Samson Apr 20, 2017 166 Elva Sandoval Apr 19, 2017 165 Samamtha Montes Apr 19, 2017 164 June Scott Apr 19, 2017 163 Elana Mann Apr 19, 2017 162 Jessica Salazar Apr 19, 2017 161 Donna Tucker Apr 19, 2017 160 Jonathan Oyaga Apr 19, 2017 159 Emily Cline Apr 19, 2017 158 Stephanie Stein Apr 19, 2017 157 Jennifer Kale Apr 19, 2017 156 Mie Aso Apr 18, 2017 155 Finley Mullen Apr 18, 2017 154 Maya Williamson Apr 18, 2017 153 Sharon Nicholls Apr 18, 2017 152 Emma Carpenter Apr 18, 2017 151 annette starks Apr 18, 2017 150 Sofie Dreskin Apr 18, 2017 149 Lorenzo Frias Carrillo Apr 18, 2017 148 Charlotte Farrar Apr 18, 2017 147 Cindy Valenzuela Apr 18, 2017 146 Ciena Valenzuela-Peterson Apr 18, 2017 145 Ryder LiuLin Apr 18, 2017 144 Ashton Carless Apr 18, 2017 143 Jackie Howorth Apr 18, 2017 142 David Seo Apr 18, 2017 141 Kyra Bush Apr 18, 2017 140 Max Elsnet Apr 18, 2017 139 Oona Foley Apr 18, 2017 138 Sophie Reynolds Apr 18, 2017 137 Harper McCallie Apr 18, 2017 136 Heidi Sanders Apr 18, 2017 135 Sophia Williamson Apr 18, 2017 134 Julian Prime Apr 18, 2017 133 Lily Round Apr 18, 2017 132 Ashley Rusch Apr 18, 2017 131 Riley Collins Apr 18, 2017 130 Katie Lam Apr 18, 2017 129 Hank Rainey Apr 18, 2017 128 Elizabeth Kaplan Apr 18, 2017 127 Owen Keith Apr 18, 2017 126 Flavio Morales Apr 18, 2017 125 Sammy Park Apr 18, 2017 124 Perah Ralin Apr 18, 2017 123 Helen Mendoza Apr 18, 2017 122 Katia Hise Apr 18, 2017
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