StandWithUs Action on California Ethnic Studies  

This is a list of major actions StandWithUs has taken since California’s antisemitic and anti-Israel draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) was released in 2019:

  • Launched a call to action immediately in August, 2019 when we saw the antisemitic and anti-Israel first draft of the ESMC. Together with partners, we generated over 19,000 critical comments about the first draft.

  • Sent a letter with our analysis of problems in the first draft to CA education officials.

  • Traveled to Sacramento with outstanding StandWithUs High School interns to speak to the California Department of Education’s (CDE) Instructional Quality Commission (IQC). You can see their speeches here. Students also called into the August, 2020 IQC meeting to give public comments on the 2nd draft and the November 18, 2020 meeting to give public comments on the 3rd draft.  

  • Another former StandWithUs High School intern, Eli Safaie-Kia, was one of the first to discover the problems with the ESMC and is quoted here

  • Eli and other students have since launched a social media campaign on Instagram and made a video about the curriculum. 

  • We’ve had dozens of personal meetings where StandWithUs students and staff educated school board members, legislators, and education officials across California.

  • Coordinated with and supported a very extensive group of partner organizations, including:

o  30 Years After

o   Alliance for Constructive Ethnic Studies (ACES)

o   ADL

o   AIMEE Coalition (Advocates for Inclusive Middle Eastern Education) 

o   AJC

o   AMCHA Initiative

o   Democrats for Israel - Los Angeles

o   Iranian American Jewish Federation

o   Israeli American Council (IAC)

o   JCRC of San Francisco

o   Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

o   Jewish Legislative Caucus

o   JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa) 

o   JPAC

o   Progressive Zionists of California

o   Many individual lay leaders from communities across the state

  • Mobilized the Jewish and pro-Israel community in Los Angeles to stop a resolution within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) that would have endorsed the anti-Israel and antisemitic first draft of the ESMC. 

  • Launched a call to action and petition in August and September, 2020, mobilizing thousands of critical comments about the 2nd draft of the ESMC. This came with a detailed analysis of the curriculum, which we sent to education officials and Governor Newsom. Some of our recommendations were adopted, so language written by StandWithUs is now in the curriculum and language we opposed has been taken out.

  • Helped get AB 331 vetoed by Governor Newsom in October, 2020. It would have made ethnic studies a graduation requirement while the curriculum was still unfinished and deeply problematic.

  • Launched a call to action in December, 2020, mobilizing thousands of critical comments about the 3rd draft of the ESMC. This also came with updated detailed analysis and recommendations which we have sent to education officials.

  • Had multiple articles published by StandWithUs high school, interns, staffand CEO Roz Rothstein which was picked up here and here.

  • Were quoted in conventional media such as Fresno Bee and The California Globe

  • Countered a Jan 12, 2021 Twitter campaign by anti-Israel groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, and publicly exposed a professor who promoted hate against Zionists during that campaign.

  • Launched a call to action in March, 2021 calling on the California State Board of Education (SBE) to further revise the ESMC, and submitted new detailed recommendations for consideration by the SBE.

  • Our work was mentioned in numerous media stories, including here, here, here, and here

In regards to the ESMC, the result of this work has been that numerous positive changes have been made, including the addition of language that StandWithUs recommended. However, there are still problems which must be fixed and are detailed here.

On March 18th, 2021, the California State Board of Education will vote on the curriculum. They can still make changes, and our latest call to action urging them to do so is located here.

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StandWithUs (SWU) is an international and non-partisan Israel education organization that inspires and educates people of all ages and backgrounds, challenges misinformation and fights antisemitism.

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