SFUSD Black Studies K-12

Resolution №208–25A2: In Support of Creating a K-12 Black Studies Curriculum that Honors Black Lives, Fully Represents the Contributions of Black People in Global Society, and Advances the Ideology of Black Liberation for Black Scholars in the San Francisco Unified School District

Adopted by the Board of Education at its Regular Meeting of October 20, 2020

Commissioners Stevon Cook (author): Co-Sponsors: Alison M. Collins, Jenny Lam, Gabriela Lopez, Faauuga Moliga, Rachel Norton, Mark Sanchez, and Student Delegates Shavonne Hines-Foster and Kathya Correa Almanza

WHEREAS: The San Francisco Unified School District has for the past 40 years introduced various initiatives aimed at closing the opportunity gap between African American students and their White and Asian counterparts; and

WHEREAS: Despite these various attempts, ranging from developing Community Schools, Dream Schools, and Star Schools, the gap in English Language Arts and Mathematics standardized testing outcomes between racial groups has not narrowed whatsoever; and

WHEREAS: The Euro-centric focus of the American education system and other American institutions has perpetually framed the history of Black people in America as either enslaved, discriminated against, or suffering under the social-ills of poor health, poverty and over-incarceration; and

WHEREAS: The broader impact of African innovations such as math, science, engineering, sea exploration and astrology that informed much of western civilization has never been sufficiently taught to students in traditional public schools; and

WHEREAS: The contributions of Black Americans to American history have been limited to stories of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and individual accomplishments from various black people in history often shared in a one time celebration during Black History month; and

WHEREAS: The history of Black people in San Francisco is never taught in school from the role of a Black man in founding the San Francisco Unified School District, to SFUSD paying teachers less to work in “colored schools”, to the Great Migration of southern Blacks to the Bay Area to support the World War II effort, to the racist lending and hiring policies of the federal, state, and local government, to how urban renewal policies removed Black residents from their homes; and

WHEREAS: Given the long and varied history of the Black community and the wider impact of African innovation, a historical narrative needs to be detailed specific to the Black community in school that stands alone from the more multicultural history that is taught in Ethnic Studies; and

WHEREAS: There is a harmful myth and misconception that elevating individual achievements of Black Americans alone can translate into a broader inspiration and motivation to achieve for Black students; and

WHEREAS: Students in the San Francisco Unified School District have directly reported the value of knowing a fuller history of Black people for in order to achieve a stronger sense of self, a deeper understanding of American history and its contradictions, and increased engagement in their education; and

WHEREAS: The San Francisco Board of Education has passed previous resolutions to support culturally responsive instruction and curriculum for African American students including a 2014 resolution to institutionalize Ethnic Studies, a 2015 resolution in support of expanded and targeted programming for African American students, and a 2019 Equity Studies resolution centering on decolonizing and anti-oppressive pedagogy and a humanizing framework for teaching students; and

WHEREAS: A 2016 Stanford Graduate School of Education study demonstrated SFUSD’s implementation of Ethnic Studies boosted attendance and academic performance for students at risk of dropping out in high school and a series of working papers published by the National Bureau of Economic Research show that having just one Black teacher not only lowers Black students’ high school dropout rates and increases their desire to go to college, but also can make them more likely to enroll in college; and

WHEREAS: There are a number of practitioners, programs, and school districts that have implemented elements of a Black Studies framework and can be consulted for guidance including (but not limited to): San Francisco State University’s Africana Studies Department, Black to the Future, the African American Achievement & Leadership Initiative, San Francisco Human Rights Commission, Mega Black, San Francisco NAACP, OMEGA Boys & Girls Club, San Francisco Alliance of Black School Educators, San Francisco Black Led Organizations Coalition, Meadows Livingstone School, Kingmakers of Oakland, IIe Omode, Los Angeles Unified School District, El Rancho Unified School District, Philadelphia Schools, Tyson Amir, Jeff Duncan-Andrade, Shawn Ginwright, Urban Ed Academy, San Francisco Achievers, and John Templeton.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: The San Francisco Board of Education approves and supports the development of a K-12 Black Studies framework and curriculum, that provides the opportunity for every student to enroll in a Black Studies class by school year 2022–2023; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: The Black Studies curriculum will include a-g approved courses for SFUSD high schools and required unit plans for grades PK-8 that introduce students to the concept of race, racial identity, African and African American history, equity, and systemic racism; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED: The commitment to expand Black Studies is grounded in the following principles:

  • Deeper understanding of the principles of humanization to extend to Black knowledge and love of self, Black solidarity, and Black self-determination
  • A collectivist process that elevates local Black voices in order to create a framework and curriculum that highlights the Black San Franciscan experience
  • Exploration of racist ideas and policies balanced with the presentation of antiracist ideas and policies, including biological antiracism, ethnic antiracism, bodily antiracism, cultural antiracism, behavioral antiracism, color antiracism, class antiracism, space antiracism, gender antiracism, and queer antiracism
  • Increasing Black employment and Black contracts through the development and implementation of this curriculum, including Black administrators, Black teachers, Black consultants, and Black paraprofessionals among other professions
  • All students benefit from access to Black Studies courses because Black history provides a counter narrative to the dominant, often deceptive, Eurocentric telling of history

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: SFUSD adopts the following goals:

in grades PK-5:

  • Students form a sense of pride for the accomplishments of Black people in global society and their local communities
  • Students identify examples of Black civilizations that have contributed to the major academic disciplines, building and stewarding wealth, and governing ancient and contemporary societies
  • Students reason that their culture, values, appearance, and other characteristics are not superior to another person’s based on their race

in grades 6–8:

  • Students complete an in-depth studies of Sub-Saharan African countries and their legacy
  • Students analyze the role Black leaders have played in challenging racist policies and ideas throughout history

in grades 9–12:

  • Students evaluate how racist policies and ideas led to the rise of the transatlantic slave trade
  • Students assess enslaved Africans’ economic contributions to the United States during slavery and the causes of the Civil War
  • Students hypothesize how Reconstruction, if uninterrupted, could have impacted and reduced racial disparities in the contemporary United States
  • Students analyze every major resistance effort led by Black people in the United States and the diaspora and how it contributed to progress in society

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED: The Black Studies curriculum will include at least three “A” courses, one on African history, culture, and geographies, one on African diaspora studies, and another on African American history and phases of African American resistance; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: The Black Studies framework will include at least one “B” course focused on classic and modern African, African American, and diaspora literature; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED: The Black Studies framework will include at least one “G” course that is youth-driven in curriculum development and implementation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the San Francisco Board of Education recommends the Superintendent to secure funding for this expansion, including the funding of 1 FTE devoted to overseeing the sequenced development of curriculum, stipends to pay educators and consultants to assist in writing curriculum, 3 FTEs to oversee implementation and conduct observations of curriculum on SFUSD campuses, 1 FTE data analyst to monitor implementation trends and outcomes from the courses, and a budget for professional development for ongoing learning for teachers; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED: The Board of Education recommends the Superintendent to secure participation from the San Francisco State University Africana Studies Department, AAPAC, and the Stanford-SFUSD partnership to sit on a Black Studies Advisory Committee that can inform curriculum design and course evaluation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: The Board of Education recommends the Superintendent to secure participation from longstanding organizations focused on advancing the Black Community such as the Human Rights Commission, San Francisco NAACP, Alliance of Black School Educators, Mega Black, The San Francisco Coalition; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED: The Board of Education recommends the Superintendent collaborate with the Human Rights Commission to convene Community Based Organizations and practitioners interested in contributing to the framework as a way to ensure local expertise is sought in curriculum development and delivery; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: The Board of Education recommends the Superintendent to raise a Black Studies Fund to fully fund this effort — including but not limited to curriculum development, FTEs to administer the program, and teacher FTEs to reach the curriculum — such that school sites do not need to draw resources from their site-allocated budgets to implement the Black Studies curriculum; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED: The Black Studies Fund will allocate no less than $15M annually to the development and implementation of the Black Studies curriculum and at least 80% of the fund will go directly to site-based costs of implementation including teachers, professional development, and supplies and 20% of the fund will go to administrative support for the Black Studies curriculum from Central Office; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: The Superintendent explores PEEF, philanthropic resources, and specialized city and state funding sources (e.g. ballot measures) to generate a Black Studies Fund; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED: That the Superintendent provide an annual update to the Board of Education on the progress of this resolution.

Consultant: Strategic Advising & Recruiting | SF Board of Education | Cook on Monday Morning Podcast.