By Theresa Harrington
Saturday, October 29th, 2011 at 5:53 pm in Education.
Two laws recently signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown should help bring updated history and science textbooks into California classrooms sooner than was previously possible.
SB 300, authored by State Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, lifts a previous moratorium on adopting a new curriculum framework for science. The last framework was adopted in 1998.
Without this law, the state would not be authorized to work on an update until January 2014. Under the new law, Superintendent Tom Torlakson is required to convene a group of science experts who will recommend science content standards for adoption to the state Board of Education by March 30, 2013. Simultaneously, the state is also working on science standards as part of the national core curriculum effort.
Originally, Hancock also included social studies in the bill, since the state also hasn’t updated that framework since 1998. But that portion of the bill was removed during the adoption process.
Hancock has said she will continue to try to accelerate the process for adopting a new social studies framework, which is not scheduled to be updated until 2014. I wrote about this in my coverage of 9/11 in schools, since the state has no curriculum standards that address the terrorist attacks and their aftermath.
The complete text of Hancock’s bill is at http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_0251-0300/sb_300_bill_20111008_chaptered.pdf.
Brown also signed AB 339, authored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, which will streamline the review of textbooks to ensure that they include historically relevant information, according to a news release.
It authorizes the State Board of Education to contract with county offices of education to review the social content of instructional materials.
“As a former teacher, I know firsthand the importance of accurate and up to date textbooks,” Bonilla said, in a news release. “Content review ensures that our children’s text books are historically accurate and free of inappropriate material.”
Without the bill, local school districts would be responsible for reviewing the content of instructional materials.
“Schools in my district and across the state want to use additional textbooks and this bill will streamline innovative textbooks straight into the classroom,” said Bonilla, a former Mt. Diablo school district English teacher at Concord High School. “As a teacher, I was always looking for new ways to engage my students. AB 339 brings new and innovative materials into the classroom.”
Text book companies can be charged a fee to cover the costs of the review, according to the bill, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2012.
The complete text of the bill is at http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_0301-0350/ab_339_bill_20111008_chaptered.pdf.
Are you satisfied with your school’s textbooks?