TAKE ACTION: Save Ethnic Studies

UPDATE: December, 18, 2020: the California Department of Education (CDE) has ignored Ethnic Studies educators across the country and the tens of thousands of public comments demanding authentic Ethnic Studies and the return of Arab American Studies as an integral part of the Model Ethnic Studies Curriculum (ESMC).  Following its November 2020 meetings, the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC),released the third draft of the ESMC. This draft is the weakest yet. 

They have taken Arab American Studies from its rightful place and relegated it to an “interethnic bridge-building appendix.” The liberatory Arab American lessons created by Arab American educators don’t appear even in the appendix; they have been replaced with watered-down lessons analyzing anti-Arab stereotypes in The Great Gatsby.

In short, the ESMC is no longer Ethnic Studies. Throughout the ESMC, the values, principles and pedagogy of Ethnic Studies has been buried under an avalanche of vague and contradictory language. Essential Ethnic Studies terminology has been eliminated or moved to footnotes.

For almost a year, teachers, activists, students, and community members have been struggling to convince the CDE that California’s students need Ethnic Studies that is anti-racist, decolonial, and liberatory. We have been opposed by a well-funded right-wing campaign aimed at eliminating the Arab American content and branding any mention of Palestine as anti-Semitic.

The biggest education system in the US—California’s—is about to make an incredibly consequential decision: Will it institute an Ethnic Studies curriculum that uplifts the stories of all communities of color or bend to the desires of pro-Israel groups? 

The CDE is currently creating a fourth draft of the ESMC, and accepting public comment until January 21, 2021. The final draft will be discussed at its March 2021 meeting before final approval by the California State Board of Education.

Use the one-click letter-writing tool to send an email to the CA Department of Education, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, and President of the State Board of Education Linda Darling-Hammond: Don’t shut out Arab-American experiences from students’ education in California. Email them NOW and demand #DefendEthnicStudies!

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TAKE ACTION: Save Ethnic Studies

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