California school boards are in the process of adopting a curriculum that has been accused of promoting anti-Semitic and radical anti-Israel content, despite the Jewish community’s vocal objections.
Over the past several months, a group called “Save California Ethnic Studies” has tried to exploit the corona pandemic by getting school boards throughout the state to “rubber-stamp” a curriculum that has been flagged as radically anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.
The agenda, called California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Draft (ESMCD), was the subject of a recent letter signed by 88 state and national organizations addressed to the California Department of Education (CDE).
The controversy stems from the ESMCD’s “Arab American Studies Course Outline,” which promotes anti-Israel boycotts (BDS) and focuses on figures accused of anti-Semitism, such as Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and deceased White House correspondent Helen Thomas.
In the current push to adopt the ESMCD, members of the school board are “led to believe that in voting for the resolution they are showing support for AB-2016 and affirming the importance of ethnic studies classes in general, rather than endorsing the highly controversial draft curriculum [ESMCD] that was condemned by dozens of state leaders and tens of thousands of Californians,” stated the letter from 88 organizations.
In August 2019, California lawmakers, Jewish organizations, and pro-Israel groups helped put the brakes on the ESMCD due to its bias, and the California Board of Education “announced that it would substantially revise its current draft ethnic studies curriculum, noting that it did ‘not yet fully align with the statutory requirements’ and the state’s guidelines,” JNS reported.
Among those who agreed that the curriculum should have “greater balance” and address the concern’s of the Jewish community were State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis.
However, JNS reported that in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, as elected officials work to address public health concerns, at least 13 California school boards passed resolutions supporting adoption of the ESMCD.
This move is an end-run around legitimate concerns about anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Draft.
It’s time to put the brakes on this controversial, radical curriculum that omits the Jewish perspective and promotes an anti-Israel agenda!
Here is a template message that can be sent to the parties listed below: To Whom It May Concern, I am writing to protest the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Draft currently being adopted by California school boards. To quote the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, I “cannot support a curriculum that erases the American Jewish experience, fails to discuss anti-Semitism, reinforces negative stereotypes about Jews, singles out Israel for criticism and would institutionalize the teaching of anti-Semitic stereotypes in our public schools.”
3. Contact Chair of the California Instructional Quality Commission Soomin Chao via email at [email protected]