California Board of Education Urged to Reject Campaign to Impose Ethnic Studies Curriculum Viewed as Antisemitic
Eighty-eight Jewish and pro-Israel groups have expressed concern in a letter over a campaign to subvert the California Department of Education’s approval process and institute an ethnic studies program viewed by many as antisemitic.
Members of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Advisory Committee (ESMCAC) are pushing for the adoption of a draft ethnic studies model curriculum accused of political bias, which California Governor Gavin Newsom called “deeply offensive” and Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond said needed to be “substantially redesigned.”
Last year, the California state legislature’s Jewish Caucus charged that the proposed curriculum “erases the American Jewish experience, fails to discuss antisemitism, reinforces negative stereotypes about Jews, singles out Israel for criticism, and would institutionalize the teaching of antisemitic stereotypes in our public schools.”
Tuesday’s letter to Darling-Hammond said, “The Save CA Ethnic Studies campaign has promulgated a plethora of misinformation and sown a great deal of confusion among school board members and school district residents. We therefore urge you to issue an official statement pointing out the misguided and premature nature of these resolutions and urging district school board members to wait until the state’s revision process is completed before affirming support for the high school ethnic studies model curriculum or considering whether and how to implement it in their district.”
AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, who coordinated the letter, stated, “It is important to point out that this is so much larger than just a Jewish issue, and merely addressing that piece of this controversial curriculum does not fix the larger problem of how injecting politics into an educational curriculum will hurt all students. The curriculum drafters saw an opportunity here to advance their own fringe political beliefs and they exploited it, at the expense of our kids.”
“We urge the Board of Education to ensure that the new curriculum is in fact educational and devoid of politics,” she added. “Curriculums should educate, not indoctrinate students into the particular political ideology held by its drafters.”