Last week, California’s Hayward Unified School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve a new $40 million ethnic studies policy. In its press release, the district noted, “The policy and efforts to develop an Ethnic Studies framework are informed by and will include Critical Race Theory and the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.” This is exactly what the Jewish community feared and fought tirelessly for nearly two years to prevent, as the state wrote, and rewrote, its Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. Now, however, the Jewish community finds itself back at square one.
A little background is in order.
During the summer of 2019, California’s State Board of Education released a proposed ethnic studies curriculum, intended to be used in all California public high schools, that was blatantly anti-Semitic. It omitted information on American Jews and anti-Semitism, used classic anti-Semitic stereotypes and tropes, and was blatantly anti-Zionist.
And the reaction was fierce. Twenty-thousand Californians, all 16 members of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus and dozens of organizations, including the Jewish Community Relations Council, Anti-Defamation League, Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, American Jewish Committee and Israeli-American Council, raised serious alarms over the proposed curriculum. The Jewish Caucus stated the curriculum would “marginalize Jewish students and fuel hatred and discrimination against the Jewish community,” and Governor Gavin Newsom promised the original curriculum “would never see the light of day.”
The State Board of Education went back to the drawing board and, a year and a half and numerous revisions later, a fourth iteration that included lessons on Jewish Americans and eliminated overt anti-Semitic content was approved by the board. However, there was still one very big problem – individual school districts are autonomous and can use any ethnic studies curriculum they choose, including the original rejected version. And for the last two years the original dethroned drafters have been hard at work lobbying individual school districts to do just that.
Which brings us back to the present. The “Liberated” curriculum adopted by Hayward is the brainchild of the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute, a for-profit educational consulting firm established by the authors of the rejected first-draft of the institute as a lucrative means of peddling a version of their rejected draft — including its anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist lessons — in school districts throughout the state. The anti-Zionist tenets of the “Liberated” curriculum were on display at a May 26 ethnic studies teacher training workshop for Hayward teachers, where they learned, “In Palestine…the people who are seeking to maintain systems of oppression and racial domination are sharing ideologies, strategies and weapons. For example, police strategies have been transnationalized, with the US and Israeli police departments exchanging tactics… Let’s continue to share ideas and resources and hold brave conversations [in classrooms]…We continue to see the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinians due to settler colonialism.”
Although Hayward may be the first school district to publicly commit to adopting and implementing the anti-Semitic “Liberated” curriculum, other school districts in California may not be far behind….
The above comes from a July 1 article published by the Jewish News Syndicate.