News Briefs | FYI
August 10, 2020
CDE posts proposed edits to draft ethnic studies curriculum 
The California Department of Education has posted online its latest recommendations to the draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. The recommendations are scheduled to be reviewed by the Instructional Quality Commission at its quarterly meeting on Aug. 13, the next in ongoing opportunities for public input before final adoption.  The CDE recommends that the model curriculum remain rooted in four foundational disciplines of ethnic studies — African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano Latino Studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies. The CDE also recommends the draft include educator resources for engaging in expanded, critical conversations that can be customized to reflect a school community’s diversity and engage in broader social justice issues.  “Our schools have not always been a place where students can gain a full understanding of the contributions of people of color and the many ways throughout history — and present day — that our country has exploited, marginalized, and oppressed them. At a time when people across the nation are calling for a fairer, more just society, we must empower and equip students and educators to have these courageous conversations in the classroom,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, in a news release. “I am proud to submit these recommendations for a draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum that will not only serve as a roadmap for educators but, hopefully, inspire action across the nation.”  California is required by law to develop a model curriculum in ethnic studies to be utilized as a guide and outline for schools as they consider implementing ethnic studies courses. This guide will help districts and schools as they begin to develop their own ethnic studies curriculum reflecting their student demographics and community.  The CDE’s recommendations and proposed edits were informed after reviewing tens of thousands of public comments, learning from ethnic studies subject matter experts and thought leaders, listening to educators, and engaging with students across the state. Based on stakeholder feedback, the CDE has recommended removing all language that can be perceived as anti-Semitic and has recommended a draft that provides resources educators can use to acknowledge California’s diversity and make connections to the experiences of all students.  “Our recommendations are to stay true to the fidelity of the ethnic studies movement, which has been fighting for this type of curriculum for decades, and which remains urgently relevant today — as we can see through the countless demonstrations for racial justice in our communities,” Thurmond said.  More information on the CDE recommendations and the draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum can be found on the IQC Agenda for August 13. CDE’s recommendations to the draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum are in alignment with state law and the State Board of Education-adopted guidelines, which can be found on the CDE Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Guidelines web page.  The IQC will review the CDE recommendations at its Aug. 13 meeting and will post the revised draft of the model curriculum for a 30-day period of public review prior to taking action later this year to recommend the model curriculum to the SBE. State law requires the SBE to take final action on the model curriculum by March 31, 2021.  To engage a diverse cross-section of students more deeply in the four core disciplines of ethnic studies, Superintendent Thurmond last month hosted a four-part series of virtual classroom lessons featuring civil rights icons, prominent ethnic studies instructors, and state leaders. The archived webinars can be found on the CDE Facebook page.
PPIC: Hold-harmless will create ‘winners and losers’
While the state budget will maintain school funding levels to the previous year, a recent blog post from the Public Policy Institute of California points out that this provision will create “winners and losers among districts.”   District funding is typically based on average daily attendance throughout the year. With COVID-19 threatening to impact school reopening and attendance for the upcoming school year, Gov. Gavin Newsom and California’s legislature agreed on a “hold-harmless” provision in the state budget that calculates attendance based on the prior 2019–20 school year. However, this provision will favor some districts over others.    “Growing districts will lose funding per student, while districts with declining enrollment will gain funding per student,” according to the July 14 blog post. “Moreover, districts with more high need students get more funding under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), meaning that gains or losses will be even larger in higher-need districts.”    The authors point to two districts as examples: Menifee Union Elementary School District in Riverside County (12,372 students) is a growing district (by about 3.5 percent in the past year) and stands to lose $300 per student in funding this upcoming school year; while Alum Rock Union Elementary School District in Santa Clara County (10,264 students) has declining enrollment (by about 4.5 percent in the past year) and could see more than $400 more per student due to the hold-harmless provision.    Both growing and declining districts tend to serve the same proportion of disadvantaged students and also tend to be smaller districts, with fewer than 1,000 students, according to the authors.    “For growing districts, serving a larger number of students without additional funding will make fall reopening and managing the effects of the pandemic even more challenging,” according to the blog. “In contrast, declining districts will have greater flexibility and support in dealing with what are typically very difficult downsizing decisions.”  Four charter schools have already filed suit against the state, claiming that the disparate funding is harming students in public schools with growing enrollment.  Read the full blog post at
Nominate outstanding HR administrators for award
There’s still time to make nominations for the Ray Curry Award, which honors an outstanding human resources or personnel administrator. Each year, the ACSA Human Resources Council presents this award during the Personnel Institute, which will be held virtually on Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2020. Nominees must be a member of ACSA and have contributed or displayed accomplishments in the role of human resources/personnel administrator at the district, region or state levels. To submit a nomination, visit
. The deadline for nominations is Aug. 17. For questions, e-mail
CDE releases distance learning FAQ website 
The California Department of Education has just released an online resource to help local educational agencies address questions related to distance learning pursuant to California Education Code 43500–43511, resulting from Senate Bill 98. These frequently asked questions can be found on the CDE Distance Learning FAQs web page at
Hand-scored assessments must be done by Aug. 14
To ensure that student results from all completed 2019–2020 Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments will appear in the California Educator Reporting System, all outstanding hand scoring must be completed in the Interim Assessment Hand Scoring System by 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 14. This deadline is in place because the interim assessments and related systems will experience downtime from 5 p.m. Aug. 14 through Aug. 20 to prepare for the 2020–21 school year. 
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