GLENDALE–The details to include the Armenian Genocide as part of the California curriculum for public education were discussed during a press conference last week organized by the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region and State Assemblyman Scott Wildman’s office.
In brief remarks at the press conference–ANCA-WR Board Member Steve Dadaian explained that while the California legislature passed a measure in 1985 mandating the publication of a model curriculum for Genocide and Human Rights–that material was never fully implemented by all school districts in California.
Dadaian added that through the efforts of the ANCA and various elected officials–especially Assemblyman Scott Wildman–that curriculum was slated to be updated and included a new state exams which will be administered at the conclusion of each school year on the high school level.
The Armenian Genocide will be discussed in 10th grade social studies/history classes and at least one question about the Genocide will appear on that grade-level’s exit exams.
The Genocide will be one of five key components of history lessons on World War I taught in the 10th grade.
In discussing the continuous denial of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish and United States governmen’s–Dadaian emphasized that the children should be exposed to such injustices at early age–in order to sensitize all regarding the matter and prevent crimes such as the genocide from recurring.
He thanked Assemblyman Scott Wildman and his office for their committed and diligent work toward ensuring that the subject matter finally would be taught in California schools.
Assemblyman Wildman has presented a $120,000 state budget amendment–which includes funds for the updating and reprinting of the Model Curriculum and its statewide distribution. In the interim–Wildman’s office has financed the printing of that Curriculum for distribution in the Glendale Unified School District.
Will Heron–Wildman’s District Director–told reporters at the same press conference that the Genocide was not merely an Armenian issue–but rather a human issue.
"We are correcting an historic wrong in the State of California," declared Heron who added that unless the State is unable to respond effectively to such issues–then the crimes would continue.
Heron explained that the effort aimed at teaching "the power of memory and the ease with which that memory can be erased from our minds."
The Wildman official also thanked his colleague Sunday Sarkissian who has played an influential role in the advancement of the matter. He also commended the ANCA for its participation and leadership in the process.
Heron said that Glendale–being the largest Armenian community–was "symbolically the ideal place to kick off," the program–adding that "Glendale students will have a leg up on other state students."
ANC of Glendale chairman Artin Manougian also spoke at the press conference–expressing his chapter’s commitment to the advancement of the curriculum.
Manougian also said that his chapter would be working with the Glendale Unified School District in providing them the necessary assistance.
The Glendale News Press quoted GUSD Superintendent Jim Brown as saying that the school district has been teaching students about the Genocide–adding that he welcomes any new materials offered.
"The Armenian Genocide is one the most horrific examples we have in world history," of incidents such as the current ethnic cleansing in the Balkans–Brown told the Glendale News Press.
"Unless you study events like that [the Genocide]–the chances not to repeat them in the future is not good," Brown told the News Press.