Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed the controversial Assembly Bill 331, authored by Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-Riverside), which would have added the new K-12 Ethnic Studies requirement. Newsom noted that there was an “uncertainty” about current K-12 curriculum in the state and that AB 331 was “insufficiently balanced and inclusive” and would need heavy revision in order to receive his signature, the Globe reported.
In his veto, Newsom directed his administrative staff to work with the State Board of Education “to ensure that the draft ethnic studies model curriculum achieves balance, fairness, and is inclusive of all communities.”
Gov. Newsom just signed Medina’s new version, AB 101. So what changed his mind? Is it now sufficiently balanced and inclusive?
“Ethnic studies is not a discipline; it is political activism, and is training students to be foot soldiers,” said Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder and Director of the AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to investigating, documenting, educating about, and combating antisemitism at institutions of higher education in America. “It goes against everything real education stands for – and it is dividing the world into ‘us and them.’”
“The signatories of the AMCHA petition letter are referring to the first draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC), which was roundly rejected by all Jewish communal organizations, Governor Newsom, the State Board of Education, and California’s Jewish Legislative Caucus for its antisemitic content and promotion of BDS,” Rossman-Benjamin said. “After that draft failed, the state went through multiple rounds of revisions and ultimately approved a curriculum that omitted the antisemitic and anti-Zionist content. In protest the authors of the first draft withdrew their names from the state’s final approved curriculum and founded the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute, and their curriculum is expected to be even more antisemitic than the original ESMC.”
The Senate required amendments in order to pass the bill, and specifically said:
4) Requires that the curriculum and instructional materials used in required ethnic studies courses not reflect or promote, directly or indirectly, any bias, bigotry, or discrimination, and that they be appropriate for all nationalities of pupils, among other requirements.
However, bias, bigotry, and discrimination is exactly what Ethnic Studies “reflects” and “promotes.”
The Globe reported on the ethnic studies high school curriculum in the Salinas Union School District, which already implemented the curriculum, much to the chagrin of parents, who say high school students are being radicalized and indoctrinated by the ethnic studies coursework.
The first page of the SUHSD History & Social Science Scope and Sequence syllabus is just one example:
- Intro to Holistic Humanization: The Ethnic Studies Community Unity and Solidarity Chant – You Are My Other Me
- Intro to Critical Consciousness: The Biological Fallacy of Race and its Social Construction as a Tool of Ideological Oppression
- The Real Life Education Situation as Institutional Oppression for Communities of Color: The Education Debt and Opportunity/Achievement Gap; Deficit Thinking and Internalized Oppression; Disconnection/Alienation.
Still unsure? This is also from the syllabus (below):
- What is Ethnic Studies and Why Did It Emerge? The Reconnection to Our Education: Ethnic Studies Saves Lives
- Reclaiming race as a space of people of color empowerment in the 1960’s-today: Black Power, Red Power, Brown Power, Yellow Power, White Allies in Solidarity
Critical Race Theory, has a strong political commitment and activism at the core. Many adults don’t know what Critical Race Theory is because it wasn’t taught in schools so overtly until recently.
The Heritage Foundation offers one of the best explanations:
- Critical Race Theory makes race the prism through which its proponents analyze all aspects of American life.
- CRT underpins identity politics, which reimagines the U.S. as a nation riven by groups, each with specific claims on victimization.
- CRT’s intolerance can be found in schools, the workplace, and the entertainment sector, “normalizing” belief in systemic racism for the average American.
Here is another example from the SUHSD Ethnic Studies activities – remember that this is high school curriculum:
“The Revolution Starts With Me” – Recipes, Rituals, Remedies & Resources for Self Care:
In this Unit One activity, students curate recipes, rituals, remedies, and resources for self-care. They recognize the extra labor that is required of marginalized communities simply for existing in this world. Students view self-care as self-preservation and self-determination, thus personalizing their own remedies and healing.
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin issued a formal statement upong Gov. Newsom signing AB 101:
“Having closely monitored and studied the ethnic studies scene unfold on college campuses for years, particularly in California, to say we are deeply concerned is an understatement. While certainly not all in the ethnic studies field fall into this category, there is a vocal and active faction of extremists who have long been seeking to inject their antisemitic and anti-Zionist agenda into our nation’s classrooms, and today that faction succeeded. This is a dark day for Jewish students in California and the dozens of other states that historically follow California’s lead.
“Making matters significantly worse, California’s teachers’ unions and public universities’ ethnic studies departments proudly support those overtly antisemitic curricula.
“This bill could and should have been stopped at the legislative level and must not be forced on the Jewish community to fight in each of California’s 1,300 school districts. We surely hope that those who guaranteed the guardrails would prevent antisemitic curricula from seeping into our state’s high schools stand ready to fulfill their commitment, since this enormous responsibility ought to fall squarely on their shoulders, not on parents and students.”
The Globe heard from one of the parents who attended a recent Salinas board meeting: “The attending parents were of all ethnicities and all were concerned and opposed to this being in the schools. We will keep fighting until we get the board members replaced and this program removed from the schools. They have poked this bear one time too many and it is biting back.”
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