• Councilwoman Lee

CA Ethnic Studies Victory!



Thank you for supporting Ethnic Studies and Standing against Anti-Asian Racism & Anti-Semitism


State Board of Education California Department of Education 1430 N Street Sacramento, CA 95814


Honorable Members of the State Board of Education, ​ We support the Asian Pacific Islander School Board Members Association (APISBMA) position that the final draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) be approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) on March 18, 2021. APISBMA’s key priorities include:


Retaining all sample lessons in the AAPI unit in Chapter 4 of the final ESMC draft.

  • Supporting the placement of additional Korean American lesson plans in the California Educators Together website under the Ethnic Studies Group Resources. We recommend that the California Department of Education develop a process for submitting additional lesson plans to be housed at the website so it can be a valuable living resource for educators.

The story of the AAPI community is not monolithic. In the United States, the AAPI community consists of about 50 ethnic groups with over 100 languages, and the “Asian Americans and the Model Minority Myth” lesson is foundational in highlighting that diversity and fostering a sense of belonging. AAPI course outlines are the least represented in existing ethnic studies curricula that are housed in Chapter 6: UC Approved Course Outlines, thus their inclusion in Chapter 4: Sample Lessons and Topics is critical to ensure educators have an array of high-quality tools to build Ethnic Studies courses. APISBMA also maintains that AAPI Studies in Chapters 3,4,5, and 6 be approved. Furthermore, APISBMA endorses all suggestions by the California Department Education to the AAPI Studies with the following revisions to improve clarity:

  • Include an ESMC section on “The Benefits of Ethnic Studies” to discuss how Ethnic Studies benefits all students.

  • We strongly support the inclusion of Jewish American Studies in the model curriculum, including the two lesson plans (30 & 31) in the Interethnic Bridge Building section. However, in Chapter 3: Instructional Guidance for K-12 Education, Jewish American Studies should not be listed as a subfield under Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Studies. In the recommended edits to the ESMC draft, the California Department of Education classifies Jewish American Studies within AAPI Studies. While some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders may identify as Jewish Americans, not all Jewish Americans are Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders. Including Jewish American Studies as a subfield of AAPI Studies will be confusing to students, educators, and the broader community.

​ We also urge the State Board of Education and the California State Legislature to take the following steps to improve Ethnic Studies:

  • Provide sufficient financial and other resources for professional development programs in Ethnic Studies.

  • Establish sufficient funding and other resources and support for staff to update curriculum and improve Ethnic Studies in California K-12 education.

“Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies” is an indispensable asset to the teaching of Ethnic Studies. We join local, statewide, and national organizations in support of the final approval of the ESMC; with the above edits to the instructional guidance, we believe California students will soon experience a curriculum that better represents the diversity of our communities and of our state. Please adopt the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Draft at the conclusion of the March 16th-18th meeting. Thank you. Sincerely, Amourence Lee San Mateo City Councilwoman City of San Mateo, CA


Councilmember Lucas Ramirez, Mountain View Manar Ahmad, Millbrae Richard Mehlinger, Sunnyvale Katie Raab, Hillsborough

Susan Chinn, San Mateo

Michael Kelly, Millbrae

Lorry Morales, San Mateo

Laura Chou, San Mateo Mary Tsao, San Mateo Simran Kumar, San Bruno Alanna Reynard, San Mateo Emma Yu, Foster City Mags Yu, San Mateo Monica Cuenca, San Mateo Dawn Lee Nicola Cadenas, San Mateo Amanda Gold, Belmont Maggie Trinh, San Mateo Lydia Sherrill, Mountain View Nancy Cussary, San Mateo Karen Chin, Millbrae Caryn Kali, Millbrae Angelica Sham, San Mateo Steve Hom, Millbrae Hildur Carlen, Burlingame Harini Krishnan, Hillsborough Alli Fitzgerald, San Mateo Amy Lauer, Millbrae Olivia Murray, San Mateo Laura Reed, Belmont

Sarah Roberts, Highland, CA

Vivian Le

OJG, San Jose

Lawrence, San Jose

Ronnie Lui, Los Gatos

Richard Horn, Sunnyvale

Richard Lui, San Jose

Angela Luo, Union City

Amy Ngo, Sacramento

Angela Wu, Burlingame

Adam Loraine, San Mateo

Seema Patel, San Mateo

Jae Young, South San Francisco

Elif Elgin, Hillsborough

Michelle Lam, Millbrae

Katelyn Chang, Millbrae

Andang, Millbrae

Gina Miranda, Millbrae


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