More than a dozen California school boards have adopted resolutions in support of the state’s proposed ethnic-studies model curriculum, despite it having come under fire for containing antisemitic and anti-Israel content, and not addressing issues of antisemitism (such as 2018 and 2019’s synagogue shootings) or including Jewish Americans in curriculum input.
“Over the past few months … individuals, who call themselves ‘Save CA Ethnic Studies,’ have attempted to take advantage of state and local education officials’ focus on addressing the COVID19 crisis to get school boards throughout the state to rubber-stamp, with little or no discussion, a resolution that ‘affirms support of the California Ethnic Studies Model Draft … ,’ ” read a letter written by some 88 state and national organizations to the California Department of Education (CDE).
The groups also accused the Save CA Ethnic Studies campaign of deceiving local officials.
“School board members asked to vote on the resolution are not shown the original draft curriculum, and not informed about the enormous outpouring of criticism it engendered or that a CDE process is well underway for the curriculum’s redesign,” said the letter.
As such, local school officials believe that they are voting to support a 2016 California law to establish ethnic-studies curriculum, known as AB-2016.
School board members 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 that was condemned by dozens of state leaders and tens of thousands of Californians,” stated the letter.
The proposed curriculum section on “Arab American Studies Course Outline” contains a number of passages concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as “Direct Action Front for Palestine and Black Lives Matter,” “Call to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel” and “Comparative Border Studies: Palestine and Mexico.” It also includes studying national figures such as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the late Columbia University professor Edward Said, Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour, the late radio personality Casey Kasem, actress Alia Shawkat and the late White House correspondent Helen Thomas—all of whom are associated with antisemitic and anti-Israel rhetoric, and in the case of the congresswomen, a push to enact legislation punishing Israel.