California Governor Urged to Veto Bill Mandating ‘Antisemitic’ Curriculum for High School Students
Dozens of organizations sent an open letter on Thursday to California Governor Gavin Newsom demanding that he veto a recently‐passed bill that would require high school students in his state to study an ethnic studies curriculum that is viewed by many as being biased and antisemitic.
The bill, AB 331, mandates courses derived from the new Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC), which has aroused intense protest from parents, politicians and advocacy groups.
The letter, organized by the AMCHA Initiative and signed by 80 organizations, expressed concern “that classes taught using this curriculum will become vehicles for highly controversial, one-sided political advocacy and activism that will both subvert the educational mission of our schools and incite bigotry and harm against many students.”
“We are especially concerned that the anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist ideological orientation of Critical Ethnic Studies … will foster a toxic climate for Jewish and pro-Israel students throughout the state, and foment harm against them,” the letter continued.
As an example, the letter pointed to “a unit on ‘Irish and Jewish Americans: Redefining White and American,’ which requires students to write a paper ‘detailing certain events in American history that have led to Jewish and Irish Americans gaining racial privilege’ and asks students to ‘think critically about why and who is allowing this evolution in white identity.’”
“At a time when anti-Jewish sentiment, hostility, and violence has reached truly alarming levels, indoctrinating students to view Jews as ‘white’ and ‘racially privileged’ is tantamount to putting an even larger target on the back of every Jewish student,” the letter went on to say.
The groups urged Newsom to veto the bill, or if he chose not to, “include in your signing message a recommendation to state lawmakers to establish legislation in the CA Education Code to ensure that state-approved instructional materials are free from partisan or political biases.”