Will California Students Get to Take "Labor Studies" as a Class Elective?
Do you want your local high school to offer a Labor Studies class to prepare the next generation of union organizers? In California, students soon might have that opportunity, if the state’s Instructional Quality Commission adopts a recommendation from the California Federation of Teachers and the California Assembly Speaker’s Commission on Labor Education.
California continues to be the national leader in the union movement to use the public schools for promoting worker collectivism. The latest proposal is for the state’s Instructional Quality Commission to recognize Labor Studies as an “elective” class in the next revision of California’s History-Social Studies Curriculum Framework.
See the complete letters here:
November 25, 2014 Letter from California Federation of Teachers to California Instructional Quality Commission
November 25, 2014 Letter from California Assembly Speaker’s Commission on Labor Education to California Instructional Quality Commission
The California’s Instructional Quality Commission, formerly called the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission, is an advisory body to the California State Board of Education on matters related to curriculum, instructional materials, and content standards. This commission last initiated revisions to the California History-Social Studies Curriculum Framework in 2004.
At that time, activists from the California Federation of Teachers Labor in the Schools Committee sought and won appointments to the committee. Obviously their plan was to work internally to insert union-backed labor education mandates into the curriculum framework. Some organizations and legislators became aware of the effort and publicly objected to it. In the end, the curriculum framework remained free of union-backed labor education mandates.
So far the California legislature has been the chief instigator for inserting labor education into the state’s public schools. In 2001, former Assembly Speaker Robert M. Hertzberg established the “Speaker’s Commission on Labor Education,” formed “to address issues of labor education in California’s public school system.” Several union-backed bills were introduced in the following four years to force labor history into the California public school curriculum. One of them became law. California Education Code Section 51009 states the following:
The month of May is hereby deemed to be Labor History Month throughout the public schools, and school districts are encouraged to commemorate this month with appropriate educational exercises that make pupils aware of the role the labor movement has played in shaping California and the United States.
Labor History Month is an expanded descendant of Labor History Week, instituted in California public schools in 2002. The original version of the bill to establish Labor History Week included $150,000 for school districts to buy instructional materials related to it, but that expenditure was ultimately amended out of the bill.
My Writing on Labor History in Public Schools:
Labor History in Public Schools: Unions Get ‘Em While They’re Young – Government Union Review (Volume 21, Number 1), 2003.
Letter Opposed to Assembly Bill 2269 – Labor History Month
Soon, a Whole Month to Subject California Students to Union Propaganda in the Classroom – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – April 14, 2012
How Will Students Celebrate Labor History Month in California Schools? – www.UnionWatch.org – December 31, 2012
Resistance Continues to Union Campaign for Labor History Curriculum in Public Schools – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – June 16, 2014
Other Critical Perspectives on Labor History in Public Schools:
The Not So Merry Month of May – www.UnionWatch.org – January 8, 2013
Unions Push State Legislatures for Labor History Courses – Fox News via Associated Press – June 16, 2014
Kevin Dayton is the President & CEO of Labor Issues Solutions, LLC, and is the author of frequent postings about generally unreported California state and local policy issues at www.laborissuessolutions.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DaytonPubPolicy.