Anti-Semitic, anti-Capitalist, and Preachy. These Are Just a Few Complaints About California’s Draft Ethnic Studies Curriculum.

A draft version of California’s state-mandated ethnic studies curriculum for high schools has some people up in arms. Now, even the author of the legislation that hastened it is calling for revisions.

The proposed language can be viewed here. As CalMatters notes, several concerns have been raised about its contents.

Critics say it whitewashes anti-Semitism.

Prominent Jewish groups say the draft document presents a wholly one-sided view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, singling out Israel for criticism and promoting the controversial Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. In a letter to the Department of Education, the California Legislative Jewish Caucus also complained that it “erases the American Jewish experience, fails to discuss antisemitism” and “reinforces negative stereotypes” about Jewish people.

The glossary contains definitions of homophobia, islamophobia, racism, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia, and even womanism for instance. But antisemitism is nowhere to be found.

Critics say it’s anti-capitalism

The draft suggests that capitalism is a “form of power and oppression” linked to empire which must be challenged.

Critics say its social justice jargon could sew division

The curriculum uses novel terms like hxtory, misogynoir, and cisheteropatriarchy which would be unfamiliar to most high school students and may be more appropriate for a college setting. The terms also engender a sense of proselytization and extreme political correctness that could engender a sense of alientation, critics say.

Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo, who authored the bill precipitating the curriculum when he was an assemblyman, called the draft “a setback” and said he supports changes to the language.

“Let’s be clear, we cannot let a few political concepts, conflicts, omissions or terminology undermine the overall and more important goal of making ethnic studies a statewide reality in California schools. We must get this right for our students!” he said in a tweet.

The deadline for the public comment period is Aug. 15, although comments can be sent to ethnicstudies@cde.ca.gov at any time.

R. Tolteka Cuauhtin, a member of the advisory committee that came up with the draft, defended the product.

“Given our time constraints, the limited parameters we were given to work with and the public comments we received at the time, I’m proud of our work,” he told CalMatters. “If we were still meeting today with the public comments that have been received since, I’m confident there would be some changes made.”


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