Nearly 75 years since the beginning of America’s involvement in World War II, history was made on July 14, 2016 when the California State Board of Education (SBE) approved the inclusion of World War II in the Philippines in the revised history curriculum framework for the state. This seminal part of WWII history will be included in the Grade 11 U.S. history (Chapter 16) curriculum framework.
The approval by the SBE is the culmination of many years of hard work from the Filipino community. In 2011 AB199, legislation sponsored by Fiona Ma and Leland Yee was passed by the California legislature which “encourages for the inclusion of the role of the Filipinos during WWII in the history/social sciences curriculum for Grades 7-12.” In 2014, the Bataan Legacy Historical Society (BLHS) started working with the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) of the California Department of Education to implement AB199. With the staunch support of State Superintendent Tom Torlakson, BLHS was able to expand the scope of the proposed curriculum framework to include World War II in the Philippines. On May 19, 2016, the IQC’s History Social Sciences Committee approved all of the recommendations made by BLHS which were then included in the final curriculum framework that was approved by SBE on July 14.
Chapter 16 of the Grade 11 U.S. History will include the following: The Philippine Commonwealth; the creation of the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) comprised of Americans and a majority of Filipinos; the disruption of the timetable of the Imperial Japanese Army by the USAFFE Forces despite suffering from massive disease and starvation and fighting without any air support; the Bataan Death March and the thousands of casualties; the role of the Filipino and American guerrillas during the liberation; the American soldiers who were transported in hell ships to labor camps in Asia; the Battles of Leyte Gulf and the destruction of Manila.
This will be the first time that WWII in the Philippines will be taught to high school students in California and even in the United States. California’s new history curriculum framework can become the model for teaching this seminal point of WWII history in the U.S. BLHS has formed a curriculum steering committee to create a sample curriculum template that schools can use to implement Chapter 16 of the Grade 11 U.S. History. For any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Cecilia Gaerlan at email@example.com.