LIBERATED ETHNIC STUDIES
Scope of the Problem
The Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum was mandated by law in 2016, however, school districts throughout California had considerable autonomy as to how much they decided to implement from it. The initial draft of the curriculum was first released in June of 2019. In 2021, after a nearly two-year-long battle to remove references to BDS and other antisemitic content from the curriculum, an educational advisory group called "The Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Consortium" (LESMC) was formed to further promote the implementation of the initial draft.
Most of the promoters of the original curriculum formed the "Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Consortium" and demanded their names be stripped from the 2021 final draft. Moreover, they defended the initial draft throughout the entire 2020 through virtual gatherings and webinars online.
LESMC started promoting its own six-chapter model curriculum in California schools and beyond. Some of their clients include the Hayward Unified School District, The Santa Cruz County Office of Education, and Salinas Unified School District.
Zionism & Liberated Ethnic Studies
The LESMC's curriculum closely resembles the first draft of the initial Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. The “Preparing to Teach Palestine: A Toolkit," promoted by Liberated, includes:
"Zionists are organizing to police curriculum on Palestine. They often try to isolate and attack individual teachers to scare other educators away."
"Teaching the truth about Palestine is also a liberatory act, for teachers and for students. It’s a political decision."
"Zionists claim to speak for all Jews, but Zionism is distinct from Judaism. Growing numbers of Jews are critical of Israel’s settler colonialism and support teaching Arab-American studies and Palestine."
"The vicious attacks that equate any mention of Palestine with antisemitism have pushed teachers, unions, and districts to understand that honest discussion of Israel’s role in the oppression of Palestinians is not antisemitism."
"A few examples: impact of continuing colonial control on water resources at the US/Mexico border and in Gaza, using statistics to look at forced removals in your city and East Jerusalem, impact of ideology comparing Manifest Destiny to the Promised Land, efforts to bury history and the struggles to resurface those histories."