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'Herstory' is out as California revamps K-12 ethnic studies course guide

Nina Agrawal and Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

"There were 14 forms of bigotry and racism in the glossary," said Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino), who called the exclusion of anti-Semitism glaring, obvious and offensive.

Anti-Semitism is now noted more clearly in the curriculum as a form of bigotry.

Critics are not entirely satisfied.

The draft has improved, but not enough, said Sarah Levin, executive director of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa.

"These supplemental materials ignore the stories of all our coalition members -- who together represent an estimated 60% of Californians who hail from the Middle East and North Africa -- while portraying the Arab American experience as a monolith to represent the region," she said.

Another critic, Williamson Evers, also felt the improvement was inadequate.


"The proposed model curriculum is still full of left-wing ideological propaganda and indoctrination," said Evers, a senior fellow at the Independent Institute, an Oakland think tank. "It still force feeds our children the socialist dogma that capitalism is oppression. It's almost all Berkeley and little Bakersfield."

The new draft arrived nearly a year after the California Department of Education shelved the original.

Officials arrived at the latest iteration after reviewing thousands of public comments, convening experts and conducting teacher focus groups.

At its core, supporters say, ethnic studies teaches students how to think critically about the world around them, "tell their own stories," develop "a deep appreciation for cultural diversity and inclusion" and engage "socially and politically" to eradicate bigotry, hate and racism, according to the earlier draft of the model curriculum.


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