The California missions school project is becoming a thing of the past. Here’s why – Orange County Register
For decades, fourth-grade students in California have had one project that has taken over dining room tables, required piles of popsicle sticks and kept parents and kids up at night completing it: building a model of one of the 18th- and 19th-century Spanish missions in the state.
But under a new educational framework the state Department of Education is rolling out, the annual project may become history.
Why? Two reasons: it doesn’t effectively teach students about the mission period and, worse, it might be offensive, according to the state.
Becky Ramirez’s son Sean, 9, made a model of the Mission San Francisco de Asís in fourth grade last year. “He really got a lot out of it,” Becky Ramirez said of her son’s project. “I learned so much through him. I learned what the El Camino Real was. … He was just super, super excited.”
Student Joseph Silva paints the cardboard church for a model of a California mission being built by fourth-graders as a class project at Our Lady of Grace School in Encino on January 20, 2009. (Los Angeles Daily News file photo)
Parent Lutzie Francisco adds a bell to the church in a model of a California mission being built by fourth-graders as a class project at Our Lady of Grace School in Encino on January 20, 2009. (Los Angeles Daily News file photo)
“I try to paint the whole picture,” said Scott Schugel, fourth-grade teacher at Woodland Hills Elementary Charter for Enriched Studies. His students learn about the negative consequences mission life had for Native Americans, but also about how the missions were founded, built and operated. They also annually “refurbish” a mission outside the classroom that a previous class built from adobe bricks.
Kimberly Morgan built a model of the Soledad Mission when she was in school. Years later, her daughter Kaylynn (right, with dad and husband Andrew, back) also built a mission model for a school assignment at Lincrest Elementary School in Yuba City, where the family lives now….