California is considering adopting a new ethnic studies curriculum that is anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. Here’s what you need to know about it and what you can do:
What to Know:
California law requires the State Board of Education to adopt an Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. The current draft curriculum is posted for public comment through August 15, 2019. (You can access the curriculum here.) After the public comment period closes, the Instructional Quality Commission will review the model curriculum and all public comments, and recommend revisions.
The California Legislative Jewish Caucus strongly objected to the current draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). Here’s what the Caucus rightly said:
- The ESMC Effectively Erases the American Jewish Experience: Despite the significant contributions that Jews have made to California history, politics, culture and government – and the Jewish community’s longstanding struggle against hatred and discrimination – Jews are essentially omitted as an ethnic group in the ESMC.
- The ESMC Omits Anti-Semitism: While the ESMC specifically discusses bias against other communities, it omits any meaningful discussion of anti-Semitism. The ESMC Glossary includes the terms Racism, Sexism, Anthropocentrism, Cisheteropatriarchy, Heteropatriarchy, Classism, Colonialism, Homophobia, Imperialism, Islamophobia, Patriarchy, Transphobia, White Supremacy, and Xenophobia. It does not include the term Anti-Semitism.
- The ESMC Denigrates Jews: In the few instances where the ESMC actually acknowledges Jews, it does so in a denigrating and discriminatory manner. For example, the ESMC recommends song lyrics which say that Israelis “use the press so they can manufacture” – a classic anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews control the media.
- The ESMC Singles Out Israel for Condemnation: The ESMC promotes the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, and singles out Israel – the only Jewish state in the world – for special criticism and condemnation that is both out of context and factually inaccurate.
That’s no surprise: Three of the 18 members on the advisory committee which developed the ESMC have documented records of anti-Israel bias and support for anti-Israel boycotts.
As the Jewish Caucus stated in its letter objecting to the ESMC: “It would be a cruel irony if a curriculum meant to help alleviate prejudice and bigotry were to instead marginalize Jewish students and fuel hatred and discrimination against the Jewish community. Without significant edits, the ESMC will do just that.”
What You Can Do:
- If you live in California, make sure your voice heard and submit your objections to the ESMC by August 15, 2019, using the public input template provided on the California Department of Education website. Download the Public Input Template, fill it out using Microsoft Word, and submit it as a Microsoft Word file (.DOC or .DOCX) via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you don’t live in California, forward this Action Alert to your friends and family who do. Urge them to speak up and submit their objections to the ESMC by August 15, by using the Public Input Template noted above.
ACT NOW – HELP STOP THE PROMOTION OF ANTI-JEWISH AND ANTI-ISRAEL HATRED IN CALIFORNIA’S SCHOOLS!