California’s Diversity: Past and Present
Lessons for the Fair Education Act of 2011
Lesson 1: Diversity in California
Students examine the history of diversity in California. First, students read and discuss an introduction to the major groups that make up California’s cultural diversity. They then examine case studies of instances when California’s public policy was changed to accommodate an ever more diverse society. Finally, they role-play a state legislative committee that will make recommendations about the need for new civil-rights law.
Lesson 2: Discrimination and Civil Rights in California
In this lesson, students examine the history of discrimination in the state of California. Students read about and discuss social changes in California that have led to the development of civil rights in the state and nation. Then in a jigsaw activity, they examine four case studies of individual Californians who contributed to those social changes. Finally, students debrief the activity with an emphasis on understanding the meaning of civil rights.
Lesson 3: Religious Diversity in California
In this lesson, students focus on one specific facet of California’s diversity: religious diversity. First, they engage in a focus discussion of the meaning of freedom of religion. Then they read a profile of religious diversity in California. Finally, students learn about deliberation as a form of discussion and take part in a deliberation on the issue of whether schools should allow kirpans (symbolic blades sacred to Sikhs) in school as part of religious freedom.
Lesson 4: California Heroes Presentation
In this lesson, students synthesize information they have learned about California’s diverse cultural history into a presentation on someone they consider a hero. First, they briefly review some of the names they have learned in previous lessons on diversity and civil rights in California. Then they engage in a research and role-play activity on someone whom they consider to be a hero.
Lesson 5: Schools and Bullying
In this lesson, students learn about bullying and cyberbullying in schools. Students read and discuss an article about the causes and effects of bullying and cyberbullying, with a special emphasis on anti-gay bullying. Then, working in small groups, they will be provided scenarios of possible bullying. In these groups, they will evaluate each scenario to determine whether it is a case of bullying and what the policy should be to address the bullying.