Last August we reached out to many of you about a deeply flawed Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) draft released by the State of California. The curriculum is currently undergoing revisions, thanks to people like you submitting thousands of critical comments to the state. You can read the latest update here and see the bottom of this letter for additional background.
We are writing to you now because this fight is not over. We are helping to build a network of volunteers across California and want you to be part of it.
Are you willing to take action to ensure that California public schools promote inclusivity and mutual respect, rather than hatred and division?
If your answer is yes, please fill out the volunteer registration form HERE, and share it with like-minded friends in California.
Why are we asking you to volunteer now?
After California state officials promised to fix problems in the ESMC, some groups created a false alarm, claiming that the very existence of an ethnic studies curriculum is being threatened.
This non-existent threat is being used to mislead well-meaning people and fuel an organized, state-wide campaign to preserve the deeply flawed first draft. Most recently, a number of local school boards across California have been manipulated into endorsing the first draft of the ESMC.
The goal is to pressure the state NOT to make necessary changes to the curriculum in the coming months.
You can help ensure this curriculum is fixed.
Sign up to volunteer, and in the coming months we will share various ways you can help. Of course, what types of actions you take are entirely up to you.
Here are examples of what we may ask volunteers to do :
Educate your friends and family about this issue, and recruit additional volunteers.
Sign and share a petition
Contact members of your local school board and other local education officials via email or through personal relationships
Attend school board meetings via Zoom and make a public comment to the board
Reach out to your representatives in the California State Legislature
Submit comments about the curriculum to the California Department of Ethnic Studies.
To make your efforts as easy as possible, we will provide suggested talking points and other educational resources.
The one thing to do TODAY is to please fill in this volunteer form, indicating how you might like to help.
We look forward to working together with you to make sure the revised ESMC fosters mutual respect, rather than hatred, division, and indoctrination.
AB 2016 is the bill that led to the curriculum being created. It says, “The state’s educational standards should be guided by core values of equity, inclusiveness, and universally high expectations" and that the objective of Ethnic Studies courses is "preparing pupils to be global citizens with an appreciation for the contributions of multiple cultures."
The Jewish Legislative Caucus's letter about the first draft of the curriculum said, "the ESMC is inaccurate and misleading in several critical respects, and is drafted in a manner that reflects an anti-Jewish bias… It would be a cruel irony if a curriculum meant to help alleviate prejudice and bigotry were instead to marginalize Jewish students and fuel hatred and discrimination in the Jewish community."
According to the LA Times Editorial Board, "too often the proposed ethnic studies curriculum feels like an exercise in groupthink, designed to proselytize and inculcate more than to inform and open minds. It talks about critical thinking but usually offers one side and one side only."
The State Board of Education (SBE) issued a statement saying, “A model curriculum should be accurate, free of bias, appropriate for all learners in our diverse state and align with Governor Newsom’s vision of a California for all. The current draft model curriculum falls short and needs to be substantially redesigned.” (emphasis added)
Governor Gavin Newsom called the ESMC draft “deeply offensive in so many ways," promising that it would be "substantially amended” and "never see the light of day. ”
Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis said that "without significant edits, I fear that the draft ESMC would marginalize and promote discrimination against some of our most vulnerable populations. For this reason, I strongly encourage the Instructional Quality Commission to make substantial edits.”
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, State Controller Betty Yee, State Treasurer Fiona Ma, State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond , AB 2016’s author former Assembly Member Luis Alejo, AB 331 author Assembly Member Jose Medina, and many more issued statements demanding changes to the ESMC.