top of page

SWU Condemns New Hayward Unified School District Contract With “Liberated” Ethnic Studies Group

June 16, 2023

StandWithUs strongly condemns the latest contract signed by Hayward Unified School District (USD) with 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 June 14, 2023. This follows a similar contract signed in 2022 and widespread criticism from Jews and non-Jews about how the district handled a major case of classroom antisemitism in 2023. "The district is continuing to ignore concerns raised by the Jewish community and many others," said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs. "Ethnic studies can help educate about marginalized communities, fight racism, and empower students to build a better future. Unfortunately, LESMCC has done the opposite with statements and content that fuel 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). It claims that including Jewish American voices in ethnic studies is "arguably racist," but that covering Palestinian American narratives in such courses is vital. 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. The group secured a similar contract with Castro Valley Unified School District in January, 2022 but also had one rescinded by Napa Valley Unified School District in May, 2022. LESMCC is a founding member of the national Coalition for Liberated Ethnic Studies (CLES). One of the other founders is on record saying that “bringing down Israel really will benefit everyone in the world.” The coalition has made it a “point of unity” to oppose the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, the definition that has been most widely adopted by Jewish communities and others around the world. CLES has also pressured Santa Ana Unified School District to ignore concerns raised by the Jewish community, and avoid revising biased content in a number of recently approved ethnic studies courses.

StandWithUs calls on Hayward Unified School District to engage with the Jewish community transparently, in order to ensure that its courses are free of any form of bias and include accurate materials about Jews and antisemitism. We will continue to collaborate 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, see our toolkit located here.

About StandWithUs

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.


bottom of page