CA Department of Education Refuses to Remove Misleading and Unethical Claims in ESMC Despite Scholars’ Warnings
Critical Ethnic Studies Activists Use False Claims to Push Politicized, Divisive Curriculum in Classrooms
Despite warnings from more 100 university scholars and academics that the third draft of the state-mandated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) contained numerous empirically false and politically-motivated claims about the educational benefits of ethnic studies, the CA Department of Education (CDE) refused to remove any of the claims from the final draft of the ESMC. That draft was released last Friday and is slated for approval by the State Board of Education next week.
In January, 35 scholars, including AMCHA co-founder Dr. Leila Beckwith, wrote to CA education officials with an eight-page comprehensive analysis of the research cited in the ESMC as evidence for bold claims that ethnic studies courses result in “positive academic and social outcomes for students.” The scholars found that none of the dozens of articles cited in the ESMC provided sufficient evidence for the claims attributed to it, and they urged the CDE to remove the unsubstantiated and misleading claims.
And last week, 114 scholars, “deeply concerned that empirically unsubstantiated claims of the educational benefits of ethnic studies are being used to advance the political goals of some activist-educators,” reiterated the call to education officials to remove these claims. The scholars noted that Christine Sleeter, author of the ESMC’s central and demonstrably false claim that “there is considerable research evidence” of the educational benefits of ethnic studies, is herself a leading proponent of Critical Ethnic Studies — a narrow and highly controversial version of the discipline that is firmly rooted in ideologies that divide society into oppressed and oppressor groups based primarily on race, and coerce students into political activism to advance the practitioners’ ideological goals. According to the scholars, Sleeter and fellow educator-activists, including several members of the original ESMC advisory committee, have been using false claims about the benefits of ethnic studies to ensure that Critical Ethnic Studies is incorporated into the ESMC and taught in classrooms throughout the state.
Although the ESMC has gone through three revisions since its highly controversial and politicized first draft, and much of its objectionable content has been removed along the way, Critical Ethnic Studies principles have been at the heart of every draft to date, including the final one. AMCHA co-founder Tammi Rossman-Benjamin was the first to expose the way in which the discipline of Critical Ethnic Studies is deeply antisemitic and anti-Zionist. And AMCHA has led several coalition efforts to educate officials about how a Critical Ethnic Studies-based ESMC can’t help but incite division, hatred and harm to many students, especially Jews.
The State Board of Education is expected to vote on the final ESMC draft on Thursday, March 18, and will receive public comments about the final draft until noon on Friday March 12th (tomorrow). Please take action ASAP, and share the message below (or HERE) with SBE officials.
Use the template letter – HERE.
Or use the information below to send an email to State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond and SBE members with the following message:
DO NOT Approve ESMC Draft Unless False Claims Removed
Dear SBE President Linda Darling-Hammond and SBE Members,
Against the backdrop of a pandemic that has resulted in catastrophic loss of instruction for millions of California students, it is unethical and irresponsible for the ESMC to include false claims about the educational benefits of ethnic studies, and you should withhold approval of the curriculum until these claims are removed from it. I add my voice to those of over 100 university scholars and academics who have expressed serious concerns about these claims and asked for their removal. School districts and teachers should not be deceived into adopting a curriculum that has not been empirically shown to help students academically or socially, and may well harm them.