2021-03-16 | Blog

Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Public Comment

Instruction for Public Comment to the State Board of Education Meeting on Thursday, March 18th at 8:30AM PT

The California State Board of Education will be voting on the fourth draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, which was recommended by the California Department of Education on March 8th, 2021. The sample lessons, including the lessons on Jewish Americans can be found in Chapter 4 here: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/cdereceditsesmc.asp

State Board of Education Meeting Agenda for March 2021: https://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr21/agenda202103.asp

Live Webcast for SBE Meeting: https://www.cde.ca.gov/be/pn/lv/index.asp

PUBLIC COMMENT GUIDELINES For State Board of Education (Day 3 Meeting on Thursday, March 18th. 8:30AM

Public comment may also be provided during the meeting by dialing the phone number and participant access code listed below. The operator will notify callers when it is their turn to provide public comment. Public comment will be limited to one minute. Members of the public wishing to dial in for public comment should view the live-stream of the meeting. The number is provided below and will also be announced at the start of public comment for each item.

  • Prior to making public comment, speakers who are watching the meeting via live webcast should make sure the volume on their computer is muted to avoid an echoing or feedback sounds during the call.
  • Each speaker will be allotted one minute of public comment for each agenda item.
  • Please use the phone number provided below:
    • Phone number: 712-770-5316, Participant Access Code: 4337117

Board Agenda, Public Session, Day 3, Thursday, March 18, 2021 – 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time ±

  • Call to Order
  • Salute to the Flag
  • Communications
  • Announcements
  • Special Presentations
    Public notice is hereby given that special presentations for informational purposes may take place during this session.
  • Agenda Items
  • Adjournment


We ask that the State Board of Education:

  1. Approve the CDE’s recommendation to include the “Antisemitism and Jewish Middle Eastern-Americans” lesson in the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, and
  2. Place this lesson in the curriculum’s Asian American Studies section. 

General Talking Points for Public Comment

  • Since July, 2020 and until today, Jewish organizations including Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, JIMENA, Simon Wiesenthal Center, and others, have repeatedly asked that the CDE and the SBE move the lesson plan, Antisemitism and Jewish Middle Eastern Americans to the Asian Studies Section of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, to be placed alongside the lessons on Islamophobia. I am calling to echo this request.
  • The ESMC appropriately includes Judaism in its list of major South Asian religions and designates antisemitism a form of oppression in its guiding principles, yet it remains excluded within the four core sections of the curriculum, reminiscent of the problems that embroiled the first draft.
  • Move the CDE & IQC-approved lesson “Antisemitism and Jewish Middle Eastern-Americans” to the Asian American Studies section, pairing it with its current content addressing Islamophobia and xenophobia experienced by other South Asians, so the ESMC aligns thematically around “shared struggles” as the ESMC advises,
  • Given that Middle Eastern Jewish communities comprise the largest Southwestern Asian population in California, it is perplexing that Islamophobia is defined and addressed throughout the Asian American Studies section but antisemitism is not defined and the Jewish American experiences of this South Asian community are omitted. The lesson plan, “Antisemitism and Jewish Middle Eastern Americans must be moved to the Asian American Studies Section of the curriculum.
  • The California State Board of Education is obligated not to discriminate on the basis of religion and therefore must treat our Middle Eastern Jewish communities equally to other South West Asian communities by moving the lesson on antisemitism to the Asian American Studies Section.

Call the governor’s office at (916) 445-2841 between 9 AM and 5 PM