In 2016, California passed legislation requiring that the state Board of Education adopt an Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, or ESMC, for high school students, hoping to better represent the diversity of students within the state. The first draft, released in August 2019, unfortunately contained anti-Semitic and anti-Israel content.
Since 2019, multiple Jewish groups and interfaith coalitions throughout California have successfully united to help the California Department of Education remove antisemitic content from their Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum and to ensure the curriculum is inclusive and free from bias. To date, over 15,000 members of the public have echoed JIMENA’s request for the inclusion of a lesson plan focused on antisemitism to be place in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies Section of the curriculum..
We encourage you to listen to this Shalom Hartman Identity Crisis Podcast to learn more about JIMENA’s role in the development of California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, to read this JTA op-ed by JIMENA’s Executive Director Sarah Levin, and to glance through the timeline and its embedded links below.
JIMENA Issues Call to Action for First Draft
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
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
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 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
A formal public response to the second draft of the ESMC is issued.
JIMENA Issues Four Principles
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
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
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 for Equal Treatment
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 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
Through a formal request, JIMENA provides the CDE and SBE with suggested revisions for a balanced curriculum free from bias.
JIMENA Submits Jewish Communal Request to State Board of Education
JIMENA and national Jewish communal organizations ask for the JIMENA lesson to be moved to Asian American Studies section.
JIMENA Submits Suggested Revisions
JIMENA submits requested revisions to the State Board of Education asking for lesson to be moved to Asian American Studies section