Santa Ana, CA
April 26, 2023
StandWithUs strongly condemns Santa Ana Unified School District's (SAUSD) approval of an Ethnic Studies: World Geography course which promotes bias and bigotry against Israel and the Jewish people. The course was approved by the SAUSD Board of Education on April 25th, 2023. The SAUSD board also approved an Ethnic Studies World Histories course which includes at least one book that promotes similar bias.
"The ethnic studies courses approved by SAUSD's board falsely portray Jews as colonizers in Israel, erasing 3,000 years of their history and connection to their ancestral home," said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs. "They cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a deeply one-sided and inaccurate way, and completely ignore Jewish refugees who fled or were expelled from Arab states and Iran. This violates the spirit, if not the letter, of California law regarding K-12 ethnic studies, as well as SAUSD policy about how to teach controversial issues."
California Assembly Bill 101 (AB101) states that K-12 ethnic studies curriculum, instruction, and instructional materials must, "Not reflect or promote, directly or indirectly, any bias, bigotry, or discrimination against any person or group of persons on the basis of any category protected" by the state's anti-discrimination laws. It also states that, "it is the intent of the Legislature that local educational agencies not use the portions of the draft model curriculum that were not adopted by the Instructional Quality Commission due to concerns related to bias, bigotry, and discrimination." The courses approved by SAUSD do not use the exact same content that was removed from the deeply problematic first draft of California's Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. However, they do promote some of the same bias and bigotry that led to the above language being included in AB101.
SAUSD Board Policy 6144 states that "all sides" of controversial issues "must be given a proper hearing" and that classroom discussions must, "not reflect adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, handicap, or occupation." The courses approved by SAUSD are in clear violation of this policy, in how they cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
StandWithUs calls on the SAUSD Board of Education to reverse its approval of Ethnic Studies: World Geography and Ethnic Studies World Histories, and make revisions to remove all bigotry and bias from these courses.
StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, nonprofit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.
Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and programs throughout the U.S., in Israel, the UK, Canada, South Africa, Brazil and the Netherlands.
For the last eleven years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator and Guidestar, two charity watchdog groups that assess hundreds of thousands of charities in the United States.