State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Calls Publishers to Hearing to Commit to Diverse Narratives

 

On Wednesday, June 21 at 10 a.m., State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will convene a hearing of his special task force at the State Capitol to examine inclusive content offered to California students by textbook publishers. Senator Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) will co-chair the task force with Thurmond.

Against a national backdrop where states and school boards are moving to erase the voices and histories of marginalized communities, Thurmond is calling on publishers of California instructional materials to appear at the hearing to pledge to protect and provide student access to information that is free from discrimination and inclusive of the diverse narratives that reflect the student body of California. The publishers will testify on their efforts to diversify textbooks and publicly pledge to commit to diversifying depictions in instructional materials used in schools, with specific attention to images and stories of marginalized groups including Black, Native American, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and LGBTQ+ people and persons with disabilities.

"Publishers reap close to $500 million annually from California public schools-we need those who benefit to do what is best for students. We know we can improve graduation and college-going rates among all students-and especially teens of color-when they have the opportunity to see themselves represented in the curriculum and classroom," said Thurmond. "More than 75 percent of public school students in California are students of color, but some textbooks still fail to reflect the student population we serve. We need to do better so our students can thrive."

Providing witness testimony at the hearing will be Dr. Christopher Nellum from Education Trust–West; Dr. Joe Johnson, a member of Thurmond's Black Student Achievement Task Force; and Dr. Karen Korematsu, founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and a Thurmond-appointed State of California Education Ambassador.

Other members of the special Task Force on Inclusive Education attending the hearing include:

Senator Sabrina Cervantes (D-Riverside)

Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), Chair of the Senate Education Committee

Senator Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D-Los Angeles)

Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), Chair of the Assembly Education Committee

Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland)

Assemblymember Corey Jackson (D-Perris)

Assemblymember Isaac Bryan (D-Culver City)

Assemblymember James Ramos (D-San Bernardino)

Assemblymember Rick Zbur (D-Santa Monica)

Details on how to watch the hearing of the special task force will be available next week.

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