In 2016, California passed legislation requiring the State Board of Education to adopt an Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) for high school students, aiming to better represent the state’s diverse student population. Unfortunately, the first draft, released in August 2019, contained antisemitic content. Since then, multiple Jewish groups and interfaith coalitions throughout California have joined forces to assist the California Department of Education in removing antisemitic content from Ethnic Studies curriculum, courses and trainings, ensuring that adopted curriculum is inclusive and free from bias.
JIMENA continues to create impactful solutions that will help public school students nationwide learn about the various manifestations of antisemitism and the experiences of Jews from North Africa and the Middle East. We remain committed to advocating for the rights of all students to access rigorous social science curriculum that is free from bias and denigrating language concerning Israel and the Jewish people.
Timeline of JIMENA’s Ethnic Studies Activities
JIMENA Issues Call to Action for First Draft of California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC)
JIMENA calls on Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewish Americans to submit their written feedback to the California Department of Education’s (CDE) first draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC).
California’s Sephardic Organizations Respond to 1st Draft of the ESMC
JIMENA and eleven Sephardic institutions in California share concerns with the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) and the California Department of Education (CDE) over the first draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum
JIMENA Submits Lesson on Antisemitism for inclusion in California’s ESMC
In a formal request to CDE, JIMENA asks for inclusion of the first draft of the lesson plan, Antisemitism and Jewish Middle Eastern Americans in the ESMC.
JIMENA Responds to Second Draft of California’s ESMC
A formal public response to the second draft of the ESMC is issued.
JIMENA Issues Four Principles for Ethnic Studies
JIMENA shares four principles of an Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum that is representative, equitable, and free from bias.
JIMENA Issues Call to Action on Second Draft of California’s ESMC
Through an email campaign, JIMENA urges public to ask CDE to adopt our four principles for the ESMC.
JIMENA Asks Public to Respond to Second Draft of ESMC
JIMENA asks the public to call into CA’s IQC meeting and voice support for the inclusion of the lesson Antisemitism and Jewish Middle Eastern Americans in the ESMC.
JIMENA Asks California Department of Education for Equal Treatment to other Middle Eastern Communities in the final ESMC
JIMENA asks the IQC and CDE for equal treatment to other SWANA communities by moving the lesson on antisemitism to the Asian American Studies Section of the ESMC.
JIMENA Supports Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) Recommendations
In a public statement, JIMENA issues its support of the IQC’s suggested revisions to the second draft of the curriculum.
JIMENA Issues Final Call to Action to the Public
Through an email campaign 15,000 members of the public ask for the lesson on antisemitism to be moved to the Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies Section of the ESMC.
JIMENA Submits Suggested Revisions to final ESMC
Through a formal request, JIMENA provides the CDE and SBE with suggested revisions for a balanced curriculum free from bias.