(Hayward, CA -- July 27, 2022) -- StandWithUs strongly condemns a contract signed by Hayward Unified School District (USD) and the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Consortium (LESMCC). LESMCC and its leadership have a record of promoting antisemitism, anti-Israel narratives, and other forms of bias. The contract was unanimously approved at a Hayward USD Board of Education meeting on July 27th, 2022. "Giving taxpayer funds to LESMCC sends a message that the district does not care about the well being of Jews, Israelis, or anyone who values critical thinking," said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs. "Ethnic studies courses should help build understanding of marginalized communities, fight racism, and empower students to make our society better for everyone. Unfortunately, LESMCC has repeatedly taken the opposite approach, fueling hatred and division across California and beyond." LESMCC was created by writers and supporters of the deeply problematic and widely criticized first draft of California's Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). Its leadership has smeared the ADL as a “white supremacist” group and attacked California's Legislative Jewish Caucus. Its website has targeted other mainstream Jewish organizations as well, and promoted the false narrative that Zionism is a “colonial ideology,” erasing 3,000 years of the Jewish people’s history in their ancestral home. In January 2022, LESMCC and like-minded organizations announced a National Liberated Ethnic Studies Coalition (NLESC).Three (out of eleven) coalition members were groups that focus on promoting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to end Israel’s existence and strip away Jewish rights to self-determination. The executive director of one of these groups, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), is on record saying that “bringing down Israel really will benefit everyone in the world.” The group secured a similar contract with Castro Valley Unified School District in January, 2022 but also had one rescinded by Napa Valley Unified School District in May. StandWithUs calls on Hayward Unified School District to ensure that its ethnic studies courses are free of any form of bias, include accurate content about Jews and antisemitism, and teach students how to think rather than what to think. We will continue to work with concerned citizens and partners across California and beyond to push back against hate and promote education about the Jewish people in K-12 public schools. For more background information and ways to get involved, visit our toolkit located here. About StandWithUs 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 7 continents, including the U.S., Israel, UK, Canada, South Africa, Brazil and Australia.
For the last eleven years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum).