July 9, 2020
My name is Sarah Levin and I serve as the Executive Director of JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, an organization representing the interests of Jews from North Africa and the Middle East – also known as Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews. We have a very large constituency base in the Los Angeles Unified School District – including many Iranians.
I’m here to appeal to you, not only in my official role, but as a concerned mother who is a product of, and a firm believer in public-schools and in ethnic studies. My sons come from a Jewish background that includes Iraqi, Turkish and Israeli heritage. We are two of the more than 500,000 Californians of Middle Eastern heritage who were completely omitted from the Arab American Studies Course of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.
With a coalition of Mizrahi Jews, Assyrian Christians, Coptic Christians, Kurds and Iranians of various faiths – we are asking you to please focus on supporting the revision process mandated by the State Board of Education, and do not even consider a vote endorsing the first draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.
Like you, I am looking forward to our schools and students receiving the highest quality, most rigorous curriculum – which is surely not the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum which State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, Governor Gavin Newsom, AB 331 author Jose Medina, and many other officials strongly criticized.