(Los Angeles, CA -- November 11th, 2020) -- StandWithUs supports numerous recommendations by the California Department of Education (CDE) to change the state's Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC), along with additional clarifications and revisions. We urge the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) to adopt changes which will improve the curriculum at its November 18th meeting, and reject pressure from anti-Israel extremists who exploit ethnic studies to promote bias and hate.
"It is clear that the CDE has recognized many of the concerns raised by Governor Newsom, StandWithUs, our partners, and citizens across California," said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs. "That said, the IQC still has to approve any changes which would make the curriculum more balanced and inclusive. We also remain deeply concerned that education officials have not committed to adding a comprehensive definition of antisemitism in all its forms. Furthermore, anti-Israel extremists are now pressuring the IQC to reject many positive revisions. They are demanding a special place for Arab Americans and anti-Israel propaganda in the ESMC, and calling it an 'insult' to treat Arabs Jews, Armenians, Sikhs, Koreans, and other communities equally. That means we still have a lot of work to do to ensure California gets this right."
The first draft of the ESMC was released in July, 2019. It was widely criticized for promoting hate and one-sided narratives against Jews and Israel, excluding Jews and many other ethnic groups, and "imposing predigested political views on students". In response to a massive wave of critical feedback from concerned Californians - much of it mobilized by StandWithUs and our partners - the CDE committed to making significant revisions to the curriculum. In the months that followed, some groups launched a deeply misleading campaign to preserve the flawed first draft.
The most recent draft was released at the beginning of September. This received an outpouring of critical comments as well, including a detailed analysis by StandWithUs. Concerns about the draft include the ESMC's guiding values and principles being used to justify bringing hate and bias into classrooms, exclusion or unequal treatment of Jews and many other communities, and the lack of education about antisemitism.
The IQC will vote on recommended changes submitted by the CDE and many others across the state at a meeting on November 18th. StandWithUs will release a call to action before this meeting, which is open to the public. After the IQC vote, there will be a 45 day period in which concerned citizens can submit additional feedback to the State Board of Education, prior to the ESMC's scheduled approval date in March, 2021.
StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit 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 on 5 continents, including the U.S., Israel, UK, Canada, South Africa and Brazil.
For the last 7 years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum).