California Legislature Allocates $10 Million For Human Rights Curricula, Including Armenian Genocide Education Training

SACRAMENTO — The California Legislature passed AB 97, the Budget Act of 2017, on June 15, allocates $10 million to support the History-Social Science curriculum framework, as well as regional training and professional development available for teachers and administrators with an emphasis on the Armenian Genocide and other human and civil rights issues, report the Armenian Assembly of America (Armenian Assembly).

The legislative initiative was spearheaded by California State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D-CA 25), Chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education. “On behalf of the Armenian Assembly, we extend our profound gratitude to State Senator Portantino for his leadership in securing substantial funding for the recently adopted History-Social Science curriculum framework equipping educators with innovative resources in the teaching of human and civil rights, including genocide education and prevention. Senator Portantino’s achievement is a testament to his commitment in shaping human rights education throughout his legislative career,” Armenian Assembly Western Region Director Mihran Toumajian stated. “The Armenian Assembly also commends Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon for his staunch support on issues of importance to his Armenian American Constituents and to all legislators who voted in favor of the 2017-2018 budget,” he said.

A Bill Was Passed in 1985

In 1985, the California Legislature considered a bill introducing a human rights and genocide curriculum throughout the California public school system. Both the State and Assembly passed the bill in September of that year. then-Governor George Deukmejian signed the bill into law on September 28, 1985; and the new curriculum was first printed in 1987.

By 1998, however, the publication was out of print. The Armenian National Institute (ANI) brought the matter to the attention of the California. Then State Assemblymember Howard Kaloogian (R-CA 74) and then State Senator Adam Schiff (D-CA 27) requested appropriations for the reprinting of the Model Curriculum for Human Rights and Genocide is the Fiscal Year 2000 budget. The Armenian Assembly Western Region Office tool the lead in coordinating community support for the budget allocation needed to reissue the curriculum.

On April 23, 2001, California passed Assembly concurrent Resolution No. 22 to further develop a model curriculum on human rights and genocide. Resolution 22 “recommends that the State Department of Education and school districts convene workshops and teacher training seminars to introduce state educators to the curriculum” and encourages teachers “to utilize the exemplary curriculum to teach the millions of state pupils about human rights and genocide. The Armenian Assembly and Armenian National Institute have been longtime supporters of human and genocide education and assisted in creating appropriate curricula. funding to help train teachers accurately instruct students on the Armenian Genocide and other examples of genocide such as the Holocaust, the Cambodian, and Rwandan is essential,” ANI Director Dr. Rouben Adalian said.

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