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February 1, 2021 3:13 pm

Academic Review Questions Benefits of California Ethnic-Studies Curriculum

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The flag of California. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Thirty-five academics have found serious methodological flaws and a significant lack of evidence in the research hailed as the rationale for developing California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, which has been accused of containing anti-Semitic material.

“We are deeply concerned with the misrepresentation of social-science research that is used to support claims of the benefits of ethnic studies courses in the Introduction and Overview to the Third Field Review of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC),” wrote the academics to California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and president of the State Board of Education Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond.

The ESMC touts four scholarly articles as evidence that an ethnic-studies curriculum will result in positive academic and social outcomes for students. However, after reviewing the four articles, the academics noted serious problems in the research and concluded that “none of these papers provides sufficient evidence for the claims that are attributed to it.”

The flaws included numerous methodological and design limitations, including that many of the findings were too insubstantial to form the basis of a generalized claim, many of the conclusions were based on small-scale qualitative and descriptive studies resulting in unreliable results, researchers failed to control for self-selection, and relatively few of the studies relied on an experimental design involving treatment and control groups to support the credible causal inference.

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