A month ago, the National Association of Scholars reported on California’s new “Model Ethnic Studies Curriculum.” We were shocked to find so extremely biased and politically-motivated curriculum proposed as a prototype for schools. Thankfully, California’s State Board of Education viewed the curriculum in the same light, and yesterday ordered that it be “redesigned.”
This outcome is surely thanks in good measure to the many comments submitted by members of the California Association of Scholars critiquing the curriculum. Indeed, this decision by the Board shows that a few comments can go a long way in preventing the politicization of K-12 schools.
The proposed curriculum also received serious criticism from the California legislature’s Jewish Legislative caucus, which withdrew its support from a curriculum that failed even to mention anti-Semitism. Other Californians also criticized the curriculum for failing to discuss the discrimination faced by groups who aren’t Black, Hispanic, or Asian, such as Italians, Armenians, and Irish.
The Los Angeles Times was also skeptical of the proposed curriculum, which it accurately described as “an impenetrable mélange of academic jargon and politically correct pronouncements.”
The curriculum proposed to introduce students to such terms as “hxrstory,” “cisheteropatriarch,” and “womanism.” As we reported earlier, “It prides itself on being ‘Xdisciplinary, which is ‘the holistic, humanistic, loving and critical praxis approach for teaching Ethnic Studies.’”
For now, students have been saved from having to memorize “The Four ‘I’s of Oppression:” “ideological oppression, institutional oppression, interpersonal oppression, and internalized oppression.”
The State Board of Education explained its decision: “A model curriculum should be accurate, free of bias, appropriate for all learners in our diverse state, and align with Governor Newsom’s vision of a California for all. The current draft model curriculum falls short and needs to be substantially redesigned.” We agree. The draft curriculum failed on every count.
The National Association of Scholars would prefer that the entire Ethnic Studies requirement be dropped. Since we’re a pragmatic organization, we understand that such an outcome is unlikely. For that reason we ask that our California members be watchful for the next draft model, which will surely contain many of the same biases.
We would also like to express our gratitude to NAS members John Ellis and Charles Geshekter, who first alerted the NAS staff about the Model Ethnic Studies Curriculum, and who have continued to report about the Curriculum’s progress. NAS depends upon its members’ enthusiasm and initiative, and that is never more apparent than at times like these.