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California’s Ethnic Studies conflict: A sobering lesson for Jews everywhere

Times of Israel | Opinion

Deborah Gastfreund Schuss

MAR 19, 2021

California yesterday approved a still-problematic 900-page Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC), capping a contentious two-year review process that is replete with teachable moments. Those lessons — chief among them, the need for continued vigilance and engagement — should serve as a guidepost for Jews throughout the US particularly those with schoolchildren.


The ESMC’s issues gained heightened attention in 2019 following the release of its first draft. Among other curricular material many found objectionable, the document’s lesson plan contained lyrics invoking the classic antisemitic trope that Jews control the media and multiple references to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement—in a list of social movements students could research, as a sample topic, in a glossary, and to help define “liberation.”


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