California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum: March, 2021 Analysis and Recommendations

The California Department of Education (CDE) has posted the 4th draft of the state's Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC), in preparation for a final vote by the State Board of Education (SBE) on March 18th. StandWithUs appreciates the CDE’s recommended edits which remove harmful material and further improve multiple aspects of the curriculum. That said, we remain concerned about multiple new and old problems, as well as the lack of transparency regarding the recently added Arab American Studies lesson. As such, StandWithUs has submitted the detailed analysis and recommendations, which follow the broad points below.

 

Broadly speaking, we are urging the SBE to:

 

  1. Fix numerous problems with the new Arab American Studies lesson and ensure full transparency before the ESMC is finalized.

  2. Move JIMENA’s lesson plan about antisemitism to the AAPI Studies section and approve all changes requested by JIMENA, including a more complete definition of antisemitism.

  3. Throughout the ESMC, reinforce the guidelines for critical thinking at the end of the “Outcomes” section of Chapter 1 and ensure the entire curriculum aligns with them. This includes acknowledging relevant criticisms of the Third World Liberation Front.

 

We are also urging the SBE to reject:

 

  1. Recommendations to exclude or edit down any definition of antisemitism to the point where it no longer reflects the experiences of Jewish students (i.e. by removing references to the fact that anti-Israel rhetoric can and does descend into hate speech against Jews far too often).

  2. Favoritism towards any single community above others in the Asian American Studies section or any other part of the curriculum.

  3. Demands that you remove language that encourages critical thinking instead of one sided political agendas in the curriculum. It is crucial to include guidelines that will help prevent hatred and bias in our schools, and repeat them multiple times throughout the ESMC.

 

Our detailed recommendations are below.

Crucial Edits Not Included in “Attachment 2: CDE-Recommended Edits

Preface, Page 7, Lines 112-115:

Current text: “Include information on the ethnic studies movement, specifically the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF), and its significance in the establishment of ethnic studies as a discipline and work in promoting diversity and inclusion within higher education;”

 

Suggested change: “Include information on the ethnic studies movement, specifically the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF). Cover its significance in the establishment of ethnic studies as a discipline and its work in promoting diversity and inclusion within higher education, alongside criticisms of the movement for promoting antisemitism and celebrating oppressive dictators whose actions led many people from various ethnic groups to flee and establish communities in California;

 

  • The Third World Liberation Front (TWLF) rightly fought for the just cause of including communities of color in higher education, and at the same time espoused harmful ideas and ideologies in other areas. For example, one of the most prominent leaders of TWLF gave a speech in 1968 in which he, “attacked Jewish people as exploiters of the Negroes in America and South Africa and called for ‘victory to the Arab people’ over Israel,” according to a news report from that period. In another speech about TWLF, this same leader said, “it is up to us to make the revolution, to break the system, to smash it, shatter it, and destroy it, as brother Lenin said”. Vladimir Lenin was the founder of the Soviet Union, one of the most antisemitic and otherwise oppressive empires in history. TWLF also drew significant inspiration from Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, and the Viet Cong, whose violence and oppression killed tens of millions of people and led many to flee and establish communities in California. The State Board of Education’s General Principles should be revised to ensure the ESMC educates about the TWLF accurately and in a way that aligns with the guidelines in Chapter 1 of the curriculum. Students should come away understanding that TWLF and other movements can promote good ideas about some issues and bad ideas about others.

Chapter 1, Page 9, Line 194 (end of the “History of Ethnic Studies” section):

 

Suggested change: insert new sentences:

 

“It is important to acknowledge that like all movements and institutions, TWLF and the academic field that grew out of its activism have flaws and are subject to criticism. TWLF has been criticized because its leadership at times promoted antisemitism and celebrated oppressive dictators like Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, and Ho Chi Minh, whose actions led many people from various ethnic groups to flee and establish communities in California. There have also been recent cases where ethnic studies scholars were criticized for promoting antisemitism or glorifying violence against civilians. Acknowledging this reality helps ensure accountability and progress in the field, and by no means erases the positive impact that many ethnic studies activists and scholars have made on academic institutions and society as a whole.”

  • Same reasons as the previous edit - students should come away understanding that TWLF and other movements can promote good ideas about some issues and bad ideas about others, in order to align with the guidelines in Chapter 1 of the ESMC.

 

Chapter 1, Page 13-14, Lines 273-281 (and everywhere else this language appears throughout the ESMC):

 

Current text:

 

“4. critique empire-building in history and its relationship to white supremacy, racism and other forms of power and oppression;

5. challenge racist, bigoted, discriminatory, imperialist/colonial beliefs and practices on multiple levels; and”

6. connect ourselves to past and contemporary social movements that struggle for social justice and an equitable and democratic society; and conceptualize, imagine, and build new possibilities for a post-racist, post-systemic racism society that promotes collective narratives of transformative resistance, critical hope, and radical healing.”

 

Suggested Change:

 

“4. critique empire-building in history and its relationship to white supremacy, racism and other forms of power and oppression in the United States;

5. challenge racist, bigoted, discriminatory, hegemonic beliefs and practices on multiple levels; and”

6. connect ourselves to past and contemporary social movements that struggle for social justice and an equitable and democratic society; and conceptualize, imagine, and build new possibilities for a post-racist, post-systemic racism society that promotes collective narratives of critical hope and radical healing.”

 

  • Advocates of BDS have explicitly stated they will use “anti-colonialism” to bring their agenda into ethnic studies courses, despite the removal of such denigrating content from the ESMC. They will do this by falsely framing Israel’s existence as colonialism – a deeply bigoted approach that erases 3,000 years of Jewish history, identity, and rights in their ancestral home. By ensuring the ESMC focuses on the United States and removing language that is vague and open to misinterpretation, the edits above will help ensure the Guiding Values and Principles are not used to justify the promotion of hate and bias in the classroom.

 

  • Removing, or at the very least clearly defining, the term “transformative resistance” is critical. The term “resistance” can be interpreted in dramatically different ways, meaning anything from nonviolent protests against injustice to terrorist attacks against civilians. We have unfortunately seen this play out recently within the field of Ethnic Studies. At San Francisco State University, a program within the College of Ethnic Studies planned an event called, "Gender, Justice, & Resistance: A conversation with Leila Khaled." The purpose of the event was to glorify Khaled, who is a member of the PFLP, a U.S. designated terrorist group. She was personally responsible for a plane hijacking that nearly ended in the mass murder of 148 civilians, and frequently uses rhetoric about Israel that promotes violence and crosses the line into antisemitism. The organizer of the event, Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, is cited in Line 1906 of Chapter 6 of the ESMC.

 

Chapter 1, Page 19, Line 426:

Suggested change: insert new footnote #28 after “guidelines”:

 

“Source: 2017 the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Multidisciplinary Ethnic Studies Advisory Team, “Elements of a Balanced Curriculum,” https://achieve.lausd.net/cms/lib/CA01000043/Centricity/Domain/226/Balance%202017.pdf

 

  • The original source of the guidelines should be included as a resource for educators.

 

Chapter 3, Page 11, Line 238 (end of the “Democratizing the Classroom and Citizenship” section):

Suggested change: insert new sentences:

 

“At the same time, it is crucial that ethnic studies courses provide students with a depth of understanding in relation to ethnic and social issues, rather than promoting specific political activism, demonstration, protest or the like. Students who are considering volunteering, social justice activities, community engagement, etc., should consult with their school teacher/advisor and parents/guardians to evaluate that the activities are lawful, peaceful, and nonviolent.”

 

 

Chapter 3, Page 23, Lines 569-572:

Current text: “Additionally, various subfields have emerged out of Asian American Studies as a means of including groups that have been historically marginalized and understudied within the field. Arab American Studies, Southeast Asian Studies, Filipina/o/x Studies, and Pacific Islander Studies are just a few.”

 

Suggested change: “Additionally, various subfields have emerged out of Asian American Studies as a means of including groups that have been historically marginalized and understudied within the field. Arab American Studies, Jewish American Studies, Southeast Asian Studies, Filipina/o/x Studies, and Pacific Islander Studies are just a few.”

 

  • This language should be updated to match item #100 in the CDE-Recommended Edits, which includes Jewish American Studies in an almost identical context later in Chapter 3.

 

Chapter 3, Page 33, Line 844:

Suggested change: insert new sentences:

 

“Finally, they should align with the following guidelines:

 

  • In K–12 education it is imperative that students are exposed to multiple perspectives, taught to think critically, and form their own opinions.

  • Curriculum, resources, and materials should include a balance of topics, authors, and concepts, including primary and secondary sources that represent multiple, and sometimes opposing, points of view or perspectives.

  • Students should actively seek to understand, analyze and articulate multiple points of view, perspectives and cultures.

  • The instruction, material, or discussion must be appropriate to the age and maturity level of the students, and be a fair, balanced, and humanizing academic presentation of various points of view consistent with accepted standards of professional responsibility, rather than advocacy, personal opinion, bias or partisanship.”

 

  • It is essential that the guidelines at the end of the “Eight Outcomes of K-12 Ethnic Studies Teaching” section of Chapter 1 be reinforced consistently throughout the ESMC.

 

Chapter 3, Page 37, Lines 956-959:

Current text: “Historical examples include the population of Armenian Americans that settled in California in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide, the effect that World War II and the Holocaust had upon the American Jewish population, and the Southeast Asian Refugee Crisis.”

 

Suggested Change: “Historical examples include the population of Armenian Americans that settled in California in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide, the effect that the Holocaust, persecution in the Soviet Union, and oppression by Middle Eastern governments had on the American Jewish population, and the Southeast Asian Refugee Crisis.”

 

  • These lines should be broadened to be more representative of California’s diverse Jewish immigrant communities.

 

Chapter 3, Page 47, Line 1188:

Suggested change: insert new sentences:

 

“Each lesson should also align with the guidelines at the end of the “Eight Outcomes of K-12 Ethnic Studies Teaching” section in Chapter 1.”

 

  • It is essential that the guidelines at the end of the “Eight Outcomes of K-12 Ethnic Studies Teaching” section of Chapter 1 be framed as mandatory to follow, rather than optional.

 

Chapter 4, Page 9, Line 217:

Suggested change: insert new sentences:

 

“Finally, the following sample lessons should be implemented according to these critical guidelines:

 

  • In K–12 education it is imperative that students are exposed to multiple perspectives, taught to think critically, and form their own opinions.

  • Curriculum, resources, and materials should include a balance of topics, authors, and concepts, including primary and secondary sources that represent multiple, and sometimes opposing, points of view or perspectives.

  • Students should actively seek to understand, analyze and articulate multiple points of view, perspectives and cultures.

  • The instruction, material, or discussion must be appropriate to the age and maturity level of the students, and be a fair, balanced, and humanizing academic presentation of various points of view consistent with accepted standards of professional responsibility, rather than advocacy, personal opinion, bias or partisanship.”

 

  • It is essential that the guidelines at the end of the “Eight Outcomes of K-12 Ethnic Studies Teaching” section of Chapter 1 be reinforced consistently throughout the ESMC.

 

Chapter 4 Page 361, Lines 7708-7710:

Current text: “Contrary to popular representation, not all Muslims are Arabs, and not all Arabs––or Arab Americans––are Muslim. Many Arab countries include Christian communities, and some have also had Jewish communities.”

Suggested Change: “Contrary to popular representation, not all Muslims are Arabs, and not all Arabs––or Arab Americans––are Muslim (many are Christian, for example). Furthermore, numerous minority communities have come to the United States from Arab countries and may not identify as Arab (i.e. Coptic Christians, Mizrahi Jews, Kurds, and many more).

 

  • Many Jews, Christians, and others who live or have lived in Arab countries do not identify as Arab. For example, many Jews who fled or were expelled from these nations identify as Mizrahi and/or Sephardic Jews, rather than Arabs or Arab Jews. Similarly, many Coptic Christians have an identity that is distinct from the Arab majority in Egypt. Many non-Arab minority groups have faced systemic discrimination and efforts to erase their cultures and identities by Arab governments, so this is an especially important change to make in the context of an ethnic studies curriculum. 

 

Chapter 4, Page 363, Lines 7765-7767:

Current text: “It has also been interwoven at times with white nationalism and other forms of prejudice and discrimination.”

 

Suggested Change: “It has also been interwoven at times with white nationalism and other forms of prejudice and discrimination across the political spectrum.”

 

  • The ESMC should clearly acknowledge that antisemitism comes from across the political spectrum.

 

Chapter 4, Page 377, Lines 8097-8108:

Current text: “According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the world’s leading organization committed to stopping the defamation of the Jewish people antisemitism is, “The belief or behavior hostile toward Jews just because they are Jewish. It may take the form of religious teachings that proclaim the inferiority of Jews, for instance, or political efforts to isolate, oppress, or otherwise injure them. It may also include prejudiced or stereotyped views about Jews.”

 

According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the only intergovernmental organization mandated to focus solely on Holocaust-related issues, “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.””

 

Suggested Change: “According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the world’s leading organization committed to stopping the defamation of the Jewish people antisemitism is, “The belief or behavior hostile toward Jews just because they are Jewish. It may take the form of religious teachings that proclaim the inferiority of Jews, for instance, or political efforts to isolate, oppress, or otherwise injure them. It may also include prejudiced or stereotyped views about Jews.” https://www.adl.org/anti-semitism

 

According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the only intergovernmental organization mandated to focus solely on Holocaust-related issues, “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/working-definition-antisemitism

 

  • Links to the two definitions of antisemitism should be added to ensure educators have easy access to additional information and context.

 

Chapter 4, Page 402, Lines 8621-8622:

Current text: “Hatred, discrimination, fear, and prejudice against Jews based on stereotypes and myths.”

 

Suggested Change: “Hatred, discrimination, fear, and prejudice against Jews based on stereotypes and myths that target their ethnicity, culture, religion, traditions, right to self-determination, or connection to the State of Israel.

 

  • The definition of antisemitism that was originally submitted should be included in full as part of this lesson plan. The current version omits crucial context that is essential for students to fully understand antisemitism.

 

Chapter 4, Pages 371-379

Suggested change:

  • Move the lesson titled “Antisemitism and Jewish Middle-Eastern Americans” to page 325 of Chapter 4 and make it “Sample Lesson 26”

  • Renumber the following lessons

  • Approve all changes to the lesson that may be submitted by the authors, JIMENA.

 

  • JIMENA, along with a coalition of other groups, has requested that their lesson plan be included in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies section of Chapter 4. As JIMENA has pointed out, “The ESMC appropriately includes Judaism in its list of major South Asian religions and designates antisemitism a form of oppression in its guiding principles. The South Asian section now addresses xenophobia and Islamophobia with nuance (lessons 33-35).  The Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies section will be greatly enriched if it includes this lesson on antisemitism, pairing shared struggles against hate so this section also aligns with the ESMC’s thematic approach.”

CDE-Recommended Edits to Modify Further

Preface, Page 5, Lines 57-61:

Current text: “Ethnic studies courses address institutionalized systems of advantage, and address the causes of racism and other forms of bigotry including antisemitism and Islamophobia within our culture and governmental policies.”

Suggested change: “Ethnic studies courses address institutionalized systems of advantage, and address the causes of racism and other forms of bigotry including, but not limited to, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, xenophobia, antisemitism, and Islamophobia within our culture and governmental policies.”

 

  • In this section, footnotes should be added to define antisemitism and the other forms of bigotry, as racism is earlier in the preface. The following definition of antisemitism should be used:​

    • Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. Examples of antisemitism can be found here: https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/working-definition-antisemitism

 

Ch. 1, Pages 3-4, Lines 40-46:

 

Current text: “Sleeter’s research shows that culturally meaningful and relevant curriculum such as an ethnic studies course, which helps students develop the skillsets to engage in critical conversations about race, can have a positive impact on students.”

 

Suggested change: “Additionally, research summarized by Sleeter and Miguel Zavala shows that culturally meaningful and relevant curriculum such as an ethnic studies course, which helps students develop the skillsets to engage in critical conversations about race, can have a positive impact on students’ engagement in education and their achievement. The research shows that ethnic studies helps “foster cross-cultural understanding among students of color and white students, and aids students in valuing their own cultural identity while appreciating the differences around them.”

Add new footnote to above: “Christine Sleeter and Miguel Zavala, What the Research Says About Ethnic Studies, reprinted from Transformative Ethnic Studies in Schools: Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Research (New York: Teachers College Press, 2020), https://www.nea.org/resource-library/what-research-says-about-ethnic-studies (accessed March 4, 2021).”

 

  • 114 scholars and academics analyzed this research and came away, “deeply concerned that empirically unsubstantiated claims of the educational benefits of ethnic studies curricula are being used to advance the political goals of some activist-educators rather than what is best for California students.” They note that the authors of a Stanford study widely cited in support of ethnic studies have said, "the effects of such smaller-scale interventions are often very different when the same policies are implemented at scale.” One of those authors, Professor Thomas Dee, also recently said, “I just worry that the rush to implement [ethnic studies] at scale may at some level snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

As such, all conclusive statements about the benefits of ethnic studies should be removed from Chapter 1 of the ESMC and language should be added to acknowledge that more studies are required to assess the impact of these courses when implemented on a wide scale in K-12 settings. This recommendation applies to Chapter 1, Pages 9-11, Lines 195-232 as well.

Page 16, Lines 364-369:

 

Current text: “Throughout the overview, highlight that the Ethnic Studies Movement was successful due to unity and solidarity building, as well as drawing on momentum from other movements that were happening simultaneously, like, the Black Power, American Indian, Anti-war, Asian American, Chicano, United Farm Workers, and Women’s Liberation movements.”

Suggested change: “Throughout the overview, highlight that the Ethnic Studies Movement was successful due to unity and solidarity building, as well as drawing on momentum from other movements that were happening simultaneously, like, the Black Power, American Indian, Anti-war, Asian American, Chicano, United Farm Workers, and Women’s Liberation movements. Acknowledge the pros and cons of any movement discussed.”

 

  • A concrete example of how to “acknowledge the pros and cons” should be provided as guidance. To do that, the following language should be added at the end:

    • For example, in addition to being celebrated for making higher education more inclusive of marginalized communities, TWLF has also been criticized for various reasons. These include the fact that its leadership at times promoted antisemitism and celebrated oppressive dictators like Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, and Ho Chi Minh, whose actions led many people from various ethnic groups to flee and establish communities in California.

Ch. 4, Pages 403-424:

Current text: Lesson titled, “Arab American Stereotypes in Literature, Film, and Media Pre- and Post-9/11”

Suggested change: replace with lesson, “An Introduction to Arab American Studies”

  • There are multiple substantive problems with “An Introduction to Arab American Studies” which must be fixed before the ESMC is approved:​

  • Page 404, Lines 8656-8658:

 

Current text: “While these 22 countries have majority Arab populations, they are also incredibly diverse and include other ethnic groups, such as Kurds, Imazighen, and Persians.”

 

Suggested Change: “While these 22 countries have majority Arab populations, they are also incredibly diverse and include other ethnic groups, such as Kurds, Imazighen, Persians, and Jews.

 

This change is essential because Arab Americans: History, Culture, and Contributions, a book assigned for homework as part of the lesson, frames Jewish communities that live or have lived in the Arab world as “Arab”. In fact, many members of these communities identify as Mizrahi and/or Sephardic Jews, rather than Arabs. Like other non-Arab minority groups, Jews have faced systemic discrimination and efforts to erase their cultures and identities by Arab governments. The ESMC should not reproduce this oppressive dynamic.

 

  • Pages 404-405, Lines 8662-8664:

 

The first wave of Arab immigration to the United States began in 1880 as significant Christian populations from modern-day Syria and Lebanon came to the United States to pursue new economic opportunities and to flee war in their homelands.[23]

 

[23] Mattea Cumoletti and Jeanne Batalova, “Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States” (Migration Policy Institute, January 10, 2018), https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/middle-eastern-and-north-african-immigrants-united-states-2016.

 

This is a sanitized version of why many Christians fled. The historical facts should be incorporated, including the genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire against Assyrian Christians.

  • Page 406:

 

[29] Jack G Shaheen, “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People,” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 588, no. 1 (2003): 171–93.

 

This footnote cites a source that promotes blatantly anti-Israel narratives:

 

  • "the state of Israel was founded on Palestinian land."

  • "Never do movies present Palestinians as innocent victims and Israelis as brutal oppressors. No movie shows Israeli soldiers and settlers uprooting olive orchards, gunning down Palestinian civilians in Palestinian cities."

  • "Dictating numerous Palestinian-as-terrorist scenarios is the Israeli connection. More than half (28) of the Palestinian movies were filmed in Israel. Nearly all of the made-in-Israel films, especially the seven Cannon movies, display violent, sex-crazed Palestinian “bastards [and] animals” contesting Westerners, Israelis, and fellow Arabs. I believe Cannon’s poisonous scenarios are not accidental, but rather propaganda disguised as entertainment."

    • This last quote is making the same point as an article Shaheen wrote in 2015, which echoes blatantly antisemitic conspiracy theories about Jews controlling Hollywood. 

 

Such material should either not be promoted in the ESMC or it should be accompanied by strong counter narratives elsewhere (i.e. the lesson plans about Jewish Americans and antisemitism).

  • Page 408, Lines 8735-8737:

 

Next, assign the Introduction and Chapter 1 (pages 1-15) of the short book Arab Americans: History, Culture, and Contributions for homework to be completed before the first class period dedicated to this lesson.

 

Page 12 of this book has a section titled “Are all Arabs Muslim?” which frames Jewish communities that live or have lived in the Arab world as “Arab”. In fact, many members of these communities identify as Mizrahi and/or Sephardic Jews, rather than Arabs. As previously mentioned, Page 404 of the lesson acknowledges that there are non-Arab ethnic groups in the region but does not mention Jews among them, making this especially problematic.

 

The same section of the book says, “Historically, Arab countries have also had Jewish communities…” but fails to mention why this is no longer the case in many of those countries. 850,000 Jews fled or were expelled due to antisemitic persecution in Arab states, and many of them ended up in California. The SBE should work with JIMENA to ensure ESMC does not gloss over this historical fact.

 

  • Page 409, Lines 8747-8748:

 

Next, pass out a copy of the article “Arab American Stories: History” and the corresponding worksheet Arab Immigration Timeline.

 

Page 413, Lines 8864-8865:

 

Arab American Stories: History: http://www.arabamericanstories.org/arab-americans/history/

 

The resources mentioned here encourage students to explore the reasons different Arab American communities immigrated to the United States. This includes Palestinians immigrating as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict. If such material is included, JIMENA’s lesson plan should be revised to include its original content about Jews fleeing oppression or being expelled from Arab states. Otherwise the ESMC will be treating the Jewish community unequally.

  • Page 409, Lines 8760-8762:

 

Show the following clips (00:00-03:06 and 47:23-48:23) of the documentary Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, which discusses Hollywood’s long history of portraying negative stereotypes about Arabs.

 

The second clip listed says we’ve unlearned many of our stereotypes about Black, Native American, Jewish, and other communities. This may be misinterpreted as minimizing the ongoing and often rising bigotry these communities face. A note should be added making sure educators address this.

 

  • Page 411, Lines 8802-8806:

 

Ask students to independently research Arab American advocacy organizations in their communities. For community engagement activities, consider encouraging students to reach out to these organizations to interview them about their efforts, inquire about volunteer opportunities, or write about the achievements of these groups.

 

Page 413, Lines 8851-8857:

 

Volunteer at an Arab American organization…

 

Develop a social media campaign to raise awareness about bias against Arab Americans

 

Teachers pushing students to do such activities would not align with the guidelines from Chapter 1 of the ESMC which state “The instruction, material, or discussion must be appropriate to the age and maturity level of the students, and be a fair, balanced, and humanizing academic presentation of various points of view consistent with accepted standards of professional responsibility, advocacy, personal opinion, bias or partisanship.” Any language instructing teachers to encourage students to do any type of specific advocacy should be removed from the ESMC, as no other lesson plan in the curriculum promotes such activities.

 

  • Page 423, Line 8986:

 

In Edward Said’s 1978 book Orientalism, he argued:

 

This book repeatedly equates Zionism and Israel with colonialism, erasing 3,000 years of Jewish history, identity, and rights in their ancestral home. If such materials are promoted in the ESMC they should be accompanied by strong counter narratives elsewhere (i.e. the lesson plans about Jewish Americans and antisemitism).

  • In addition the substantive issues above, the process for adding “An Introduction to Arab American Studies” was deeply problematic. The lesson was submitted at the very last minute, on March 1, 2021, right before CDE’s recommended edits were released to the public. Moreover, this last minute change was buried in documents which are hundreds of pages long, leaving almost no time to review the lesson and give feedback. § 51226.7 of the California Education Code states that the public should have a minimum of 45 days for public comment before the model curriculum is submitted to the SBE. There is no logical reason why “An Introduction to Arab American Studies” should be exempt from this requirement. As such, if SBE supports this CDE-recommended edit, it should consider requesting an extension of the deadline to approve the ESMC, to allow adequate time to review and revise the new lesson.​​

  • The lack of transparency surrounding this lesson plan is especially concerning because the senior expert involved in creating the lesson plan is the lead educational consultant at a Georgetown academic center funded by and named after Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family. Georgetown has received $20 million from Prince bin Talal, who is on record making anti-Israel and antisemitic statements. The apparent involvement of an institution funded by Prince bin Talal in creating “An Introduction to Arab American Studies,” and its submission at the last minute is quite problematic. Students, parents, and concerned citizens in California should not have less input on this issue than an academic institution on the other side of the country, funded by a prominent member of the Saudi royal family.

Ch. 6, Page 58-71:

Suggested change: delete course outline, “Introduction to Ethnic Studies (Salinas Union)”

  • This change is not currently reflected in the revised Chapter 6. The suggested change should be adopted and the chapter should be updated accordingly.

CDE-Recommended Edits Which are Crucial to Approve

Ch. 1 Pages 11-12, Lines 234-237:

 

Suggested change: insert new sentences and footnote: “At the college and university level, Ethnic Studies and related courses are sometimes taught from a specific political point of view. In K-12 education it is imperative that students are exposed to multiple perspectives, taught to think critically and form their own opinions.15”

New footnote: “Source: 2017 the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Multidisciplinary Ethnic Studies Advisory Team, “Elements of a Balanced Curriculum,” https://achieve.lausd.net/cms/lib/CA01000043/Centricity/Domain/226/Balance%202017.pdf

 

  • This framing is crucial to help ensure hate and bias are not taught in classrooms.

Ch. 4, Page 40:

 

Suggested change: Delete lesson, “Important Historical Figures Among People of Color”.

 

  • This lesson was deeply problematic in numerous ways and should be removed as recommended by the CDE.

CDE-Recommended Edits to Reject

Ch. 1, Page 19, Lines 431-433:

Current text: “Curriculum, resources, and materials should include a balance of topics, authors, and concepts, including primary and secondary sources that represent multiple, and sometimes opposing, points of view or perspectives.”

Suggested change: “Curriculum, resources, and materials should include a balance of topics, authors, and concepts, including primary and secondary sources that represent multiple, and sometimes distinctive, points of view or perspectives.”

 

  • Students should be exposed to opposing perspectives on controversial issues. Diluting this standard may result in students coming away less aware of different perspectives and less prepared to think critically.

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