Jewish Caucus Leaders Applaud Firm Commitment to Remove Anti-Jewish Bias from Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum
Caucus Has Engaged in Productive Discussions with State Education Leaders in Advance of July 31st Release of New Draft Curriculum; Received Repeated Assurances Curriculum Will Not Include Any Antisemitic or Anti-Israel Content
Sacramento, CA — Senator Ben Allen (D - Santa Monica) and Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D - Encino), Chair and Vice Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, released the following statement regarding the upcoming release of a new draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum:
“The Jewish Caucus recently had a productive meeting with State Superintendent Tony Thurmond to discuss the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. The Superintendent assured us that our concerns have been clearly heard and that we can be confident that the new version of the curriculum will not include any content that is, or can be perceived as, antisemitic or anti-Israel. We appreciate the Superintendent’s firm commitment and applaud his efforts to develop a curriculum free from bigotry and discrimination.
“The Jewish Caucus also has engaged in productive discussions with our partners in the other ethnic caucuses and shared with them our community’s concerns. We deeply value these partnerships and are committed to continuing to work closely with the other caucuses to advance justice, increase equity, and address systemic racism.
“We look forward to reviewing the new draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum and remain hopeful that it will be one that we can all support.”
For over a year, the California Legislative Jewish Caucus has been working closely with the California Department of Education, Governor Newsom, legislative allies, a broad coalition of Jewish organizations across California, and ethnic studies activists to ensure that the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum is free from any anti-Jewish bias or discrimination. On July 29, 2019, the Jewish Caucus released a letter highlighting its strong objections to certain aspects of the initial draft model curriculum. Following widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum, the California Department of Education (CDE) promised to make significant revisions to the model curriculum.
In a recent meeting with the Jewish Caucus, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond reaffirmed his commitment to addressing the Jewish Caucus’s concerns and removing all discriminatory content from the curriculum. He also advised the Caucus that the new draft will focus exclusively on the four core groups—Black Americans, Latinx Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans—that have traditionally been at the heart of Ethnic Studies.
CDE anticipates releasing the revised draft on July 31, 2020, after which it will go through another review process. The Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) will review the draft on August 13th, and solicit public comment on it in September. After public comments are taken into account, the IQC will review another updated draft in November, and then send it to the State Board of Education for final review. The State Board of Education must approve a final curriculum by March 31, 2021.
The Jewish Caucus will remain actively engaged at every step of this process and will work diligently to ensure that the final curriculum meets the highest educational standards and is free from bigotry and discrimination.
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