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StandWithUs Letter to CA Education Officials Regarding Ethnic Studies

Dear State Superintendent Thurmond, State Board of Education, and Members of the Instructional Quality Commission,

I write on behalf of StandWithUs, an international, non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about Israel and fighting antisemitism. We were deeply grateful when you publicly promised to revise the antisemitic and anti-Israel first draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). However, we are now deeply concerned that serious problems remain in the newest draft released on August 31st.

As such, we are attaching our detailed analysis and recommended changes to the curriculum. These changes are supported by thousands of Californians who have signed the attached petition, or emailed you since September 1st urging you to revise the ESMC as follows:

“1. Accurately represent Jewish American experiences and teach about antisemitism in all its forms.

2. Add an inclusive unit about Middle Eastern communities featuring the lesson plan submitted by JIMENA.

3. Remove "Guiding Values and Principles" which can and will be used to justify bringing hate and bias into our classrooms, in violation of AB331.”

We would add that safeguards must be added to the ESMC, to ensure ethnic studies courses are not used to promote one-sided political agendas, including antisemitic, anti-Israel and/or anti-Zionist agendas.

In addition to problematic content in the ESMC, we are equally concerned about the process for writing, reviewing and approving the curriculum. The public deserves certainty that any new sections of the curriculum will be held to the same standard of vetting as the rest, as well as clarity about why various ethnic groups are being arbitrarily excluded or barely mentioned.

We fully support the vision of AB 2016: “culturally meaningful and relevant curriculum,” educational standards guided by “equity, inclusiveness, and universally high expectations,” and an, “objective of preparing pupils to be global citizens with an appreciation for the contributions of multiple cultures.” Unfortunately, the ESMC is in danger of badly missing the mark, because extremists insist on using ethnic studies to promote their own destructive political agendas.

To see this in action, look no further than San Francisco State University, where a program within the College of Ethnic Studies is hosting an event on September 23rd called "Gender, Justice, & Resistance: A conversation with Leila Khaled". Khaled, a member of the PFLP terrorist group, was personally responsible for a plane hijacking that nearly ended in the mass murder of 148 civilians. The professor hosting this event, Rabab Abdulhadi, is cited in Appendix A of the ESMC. We urge you to act so this hate does not rear its ugly head in public schools across California, by revising the ESMC in line with our attached recommendations.

Thank you for attention to these important matters.

Roz Rothstein

CEO and Co-Founder

StandWithUs Cc: Stephanie Gregson

Shanine Coats


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