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

4 August, 2019

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

19 August, 2019
1 July, 2020

Advocates for Inclusive Middle Eastern Education (AIMEE) in born

JIMENA becomes a founding member of AIMEE, a diverse coalition of Middle Eastern minority communities in California asking CDE for balance and inclusion in the ESMC.

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.

14 July, 2020
14 August, 2020

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.

21 August, 2020
8 September, 2020

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.

11 November, 2020
12 November, 2020

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.

11 December, 2020
29 December, 2020

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.

21 January, 2021
26 February, 2021
19 March, 2021

JIMENA Statement on California’s State Board of Education Approval of the final ESMC

JIMENA released a statement on the State Board of Education’s unanimous vote to approve the fourth draft of the ESMC.

JIMENA Issues Statement on New Scholarly Research on Middle Eastern Jewish History Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

JIMENA raises concerns regarding a grant to academic scholars to “re-imagine Jewish life in the Middle East”

16 February, 2022

JIMENA Responds to California Department of Education’s Antibias Grant Program

JIMENA calls to halt school grants until antisemitism education is included in plans

8 May, 2023
25 May, 2023

JIMENA Participates in Listening Sessions for the design of the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism

The White House adopts JIMENA’s suggestions of teaching the history of Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews in public schools and including antisemitism in Ethnic Studies

27 July, 2023

JIMENA’s Education Work Recognized by the Jim Joseph Foundation

Jim Joseph Foundation publishes article, JIMENA: Expanding its Role as an Educational Leader

25 August, 2023

JIMENA Urges California to Define and Combat Antisemitism in Public Education

JIMENA responds to Governor Newsom letter to school districts statewide

JIMENA Participates in Biden Administration Antisemitism in Education Gathering in San Francisco, California

Bay Area Superintendents meet with Deputy Secretary of Education to address antisemitism

25 September, 2023
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