Fil-Ams ensure proper implementation of Filipino World War II contributions into CA classrooms

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Filipino troops who fought and died under U.S. command in World War II will now be a part of the school’s curriculum after being absent from textbooks and classrooms for more than 70 years.

Assembly Bill 199 requires instruction of the roles that Filipinos played in the war in grades 7 to 12 in California.

However, the fight continues as Fil-Am educators and advocates of the veteranos discuss the proper framework of the curriculum before it will be decided by the State Board of Education.

“What we told them was that it’s imperative that this history curriculum framework be historically accurate,” said Executive Director of Bataan Legacy Historical Society Cecilia I. Gaerlan. “It should reflect the perspective of those who made the sacrifices in the Philippines during World War II because the text in the previous framework had some historical and contextual errors.”

Fil-Am educators said that the common misconception of the passage of AB 199 is that Filipinos in WW II were automatically taught in classrooms.

The framework will provide the necessary training of teachers to implement the history; however, it must still be enforced.

“We need to urge the teachers to teach it because the framework is just a framework, and if the teachers don’t teach it then no one will learn it,” said former dean at Lowell High School Ray Cordoba. “Students have to be apprised. We need to tell the students to ask about it. Don’t just hear about it from your grandfather or your granduncle who’s passing away by the day.”

Educators also said that the implementation of the history will be significant in the cultural identity of young Filipino-Americans.

“It’s not just for Filipinos that this is important for but everyone to know that Filipinos played an important role in this fabric we call California history,” said Dr. James Sobredo of Sacramento State University. “If you’re a young Filipino kid, it’s not something simplistic like we can do tinikling or halo-halo. But good god we are really part of the fabric that makes California a great state.”

The Instructional Quality Commission will implement the notes presented by Fil-Am advocates into the framework of the curriculum before sending it to the State Board of Education on July 13 and 14.

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