2020-11-11 | International News

Urgent Call to Action on the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum

Our work is not done!  

Thanks to you, in September 10,000 people asked the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) of California’s State Board of Education to include JIMENA’s lesson “Antisemitism and Middle Eastern Jewish Americans.”  

This Wednesday and Thursday — November 18 & 19 — the IQC will decide which lessons to include in the Ethnic Studies curriculum.  With eleven new ethnic groups submitting 300 new pages, the IQC will have hard choices to make  — which lessons to include in full, which to link to, and even which to reject.

Students, educators, and parents please make your voices heard!  

Call the IQC and urge the commissioners to include JIMENA’s entire lesson, not a link, in the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.  

All can speak out.  Suggested talking points are below. 

One minute comments will be taken on a first come, first serve basis so call in before the start of the session and be prepared to wait. Calling instructions and meeting agenda

  • Phone number: 712-432-0075
  • Access code: 651905#

* November 18th:  scheduled to start at 12:15 so que up by noon at the latest (public comment may start mid-afternoon).  Agenda Item 8 (subcommittee session). November 19th: slated to start at 9 am so que up by 8:45.  Agenda Item 9(a (full commission). Watch the IQC meeting livehttps://www.cde.ca.gov/be/pn/lv/index.asp

Talking Points – Callers will have one minute to speak.

Start off with a very short personal experience.  For example, Mizrahi or Sephardic Jews can briefly describe their personal history and experiences of racialization, discrimination, and antisemitism IN THE UNITED STATES

  • In September 10,000 people wrote in and asked commissioners to include the “Antisemitism and Middle Eastern Jewish Americans” lesson in the Model Curriculum. 
  • California’s State Board of Education’s rules require the state’s curricula to portray peoples proportionately and not discriminate in favor of or against nationalities, races, ethnicities, and religions. Therefore Middle Eastern Jewish Americans and Arab Americans should be treated equally and placed in the curriculum’s Asian American Section.  
    • Chapter 3 of the curriculum you approved in August is clear: “Asian Americans includes the unique experiences of …Middle Easterners.”  
  • I support adding the “Antisemitism and Middle Eastern-American Jews” lesson because it addresses antisemitism. Antisemitism continues to be the 3rd most prevalent ethnic-based and the most prevalent religious-based hate crime in California according to government statistics, up a disturbing 72% since 2016.  
    • Ethnic Studies includes the study of “forms of bigotry including antisemitism” according to the Preface of the model curriculum draft you approved in August. 
    • Included in this lesson is an accurate definition of antisemitism, the one most widely used around the world by  Jewish rights organizations and both the US Democratic (Obama administration) and Republican administrations’ State Departments. 
  • Include the Middle Eastern American lessons in full so they won’t be overlooked.  Do not share them via a link to a webpage.
  • Superintendent Thurmond shared his hopes for this curriculum in his November 6 press conference: “as we talk about the rise of white supremacy, we must talk about the increase in hate acts and bigotry against the Jewish community, the high level of anti-Semitism that we see.”  

We need thousands to act now!