June 20, 2018 - 11:13 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - California Senator Anthony J. Portantino is the Chair of the Senate Education Budget Sub-Committee with long and close ties to the Armenian American Community. In that capacity, he personally submitted two important education proposals on behalf of Armenian Californians into the California State Budget. This included six full tuition scholarships at Hastings College of Law for graduates of the American University of Armenia and a $500,000 state grant to create study guides for California schools to properly teach the Armenian Genocide. Senator Portantino announced that the California State Budget adopted both of his important proposals.
“I am so pleased to report the successful inclusion of these important education proposals. I had the honor to work with representative of AUA and Hastings to create the scholarships and with the Genocide Education Project on the implementation of the study guide proposal. I am grateful to my colleagues and Governor Brown for embracing the idea of helping all Californian’s properly learn about the Genocide and to provide a career path that cements California’s positive relationship with AUA, commented Portantino.
The six scholarships at Hastings have an estimated value of $190,000 each. To be eligible, students must be California residents who graduate from AUA and meet Hastings' admission requirements. Following on the heels of last year's successful effort to budget $10 million for the implementation of the updated Social Science curriculum in California, the study guides will further advance the cause of properly teaching all California students accurate history around the horrendous events that began in 1915.
“For many years, one of the top legislative priorities of the ANCA-Western Region has been to find pathways to implement the mandated curriculum of Armenian Genocide education in public schools, whether through professional development and teacher training, preparation and distribution of appropriate and comprehensive study guides, and proper inclusion in social studies and history textbooks. We are very grateful to Senator Anthony Portantino for his ongoing efforts to secure substantial funding for this purpose, and we look forward to continuing to work with him and the State Legislature toward ensuring that the history and lessons learned from the Armenian Genocide are appropriately taught to California students,” stated Nora Hovsepian, Esq., Chair of the ANCA-WR.
Senator Portantino has a long and distinguished record of supporting the Armenian American Community. In addition to chairing the Education Budget Sub-committee he also chairs the California Armenia and Artsakh Select Committee. Last year he requested $3 million dollars for the Armenian American Museum in addition to the $10 million dollars for social science curriculum. He has visited Yerevan and Artsakh and supported many local Armenian initiatives and causes. Eelier in the year he held a historic hearing on the 30 commemoration of the Sumgait Pogrom with a survivor of the atrocity.
"AUA presents an outstanding opportunity for students in California to come to Yerevan for an excellent education. The scholarship gives an extra incentive to these students to further their dreams to become lawyers without the fear of creating debt. I am grateful to Senator Portantino for proposing the idea for our students," added President Der Kiureghian.
The adopted budget is headed to Governor Brown for his signature. The Senator is cautiously optimistic that the Governor will sign the budget creating the scholarships and the study guides.