Jaime Kardontchik
Jaime Kardontchik

California ‘Ethnic Studies’ – From bad to worse

On July 15 2021, the California Legislature passed the Assembly Bill 101 regulating the “Ethnic Studies” courses in K12 schools. The bill as passed is the dream-bill pushed by the original extreme proponents of the introduction of “Ethnic Studies” courses in K12 schools.

First, the conciliatory proposal of letting a parent request and obtain an exception for his/her child from taking “Ethnic Studies” courses and replace them by other courses, for example, an alternative “Humanistic Literature” course [or, simply, additional existent courses from the STEAM curriculum (STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math)], was ignored: It is now a compulsory requirement in California for every K12 student to take “Ethnic Studies” courses to finish school, obtain the diploma, and get accepted to a college or university.

Second, after all the brouhaha and fights of Jewish organizations during the last couple of years around the initial antisemitic contents of the original “Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum” that led to the addition of two faulty lessons about “Jews” in the final draft of the curriculum, approved last March 19, 2021 (Chapter 4, Sample Lessons 30 and 31), the new AB-101 California bill downgraded the approved Model Curriculum to just “one possibility out of many” and gives ample freedom to teachers of “Ethnic Studies” courses to set the actual content of the courses as they wish.

In the own words of the AB-101: An “Ethnic Studies” course taught in K12 schools can be based on

A) the Model Curriculum in ethnic studies developed by the commission [the one approved on March 19, 2021, and for which Jewish organizations fought so much];

B) an existing ethnic studies course;

C) an ethnic studies course taught as part of a course that has been approved as meeting the A-G requirements of the University of California and the California State University; or

D) a locally developed ethnic studies course approved by the governing body of the school district or the governing body of the charter school.

People might never know the actual content of an “Ethnic Studies” course developed by some obscure author or local school district (options B and D), but everyone knows the meaning of option C: these are “Ethnic Studies” courses taught at the UC or the CSU to adult students, who – by their own will and choosing – decided to take these courses. These are courses that often times are full with vitriolic antisemitic content, either in full display or disguised as anti-Zionism and calls for the boycott and BDS of Israel. Students at the University can decide to skip these “Ethnic Courses” altogether and enroll for a degree in other Departments, like Physics, Engineering, Performing Arts or Math. But this is not an option for K12 students, who – on top of this – are minors.

Indoctrinating Jewish minors in K12 schools to hate Israel against their will is equivalent to the raping of a minor by an adult in front of a captive audience using the power of the pulpit and the authority endowed by the school to the teacher.

Jewish parents should take all the necessary means to protect their children. I suppose that a legal fight against the adopted AB-101 bill could reach the Supreme Court, but this could take years. In the meantime, parents should talk to their kids and teach them how to confront a rapist teacher on the spot in a K12 “Ethnic Studies” class, using all the means recommended by parent associations and the police.

Warning to parents: Do not underestimate the long-term psychological damage caused by an adult, disguised as a teacher, indoctrinating self-hate to a minor in an unequal forced relationship in front of a class in an officially compulsory “Ethnic Studies” course. There is nothing “consensual” in this relationship.

Antisemitism should not be allowed in K12 schools, neither openly nor disguised as anti-Zionism, boycotts of Israel or pollyannaish and lachrymose versions of the Arab side of the conflict.

Act now. Do not wait. The new school year begins now. Contact other parents. Use the teacher-parent meetings at the beginning of the school year to express your concerns.   Send letters to the teachers in your school district explaining why this subject is so important to you. Request from teachers of “Ethnic Studies” courses to support and teach to their students the IHRA working definition of antisemitism:

https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/working-definition-antisemitism

Notes: The University of California (UC) consists of 9 internationally prestigious campuses, like UC Berkeley and UC Los Angeles. The California State University (CSU) comprises 23 campuses that are of more “local” character and usually concentrated on studies towards the first degree (Bachelor) only. They include, for example, the San Francisco State University, the San Jose State University and the San Diego State University.

In August 2020, the California Legislature approved the bill AB 1460, that for the first time makes it mandatory for all new CSU students, beginning year 2021-2022, to take a course on “Ethnic Studies” and focused exclusively on four specific ethnic minority groups. This bill was criticized for failing to include the historic experience of other minority groups, notably Jews and women, with a very long history of discrimination against them.

In the author’s view, students at good Universities are already stressed enough with the academic requirements in their own field. They should be allowed to choose the “elective” courses offered by other Departments from any field they wish in order to equilibrate their physical and mental needs and satisfy their intellectual curiosity. Forced indoctrination is the least they need. Ditto in secondary (Middle and High) schools.

To the Reader: The above article is a chapter from my recent book “Boycott of Israel is Wrong: How to fight it”. The book was originally published in June 2021. The chapter, in its original title “California Assembly Bill 101 – From bad to worse”, has been added to a Revised Edition of the book published this month, August 2021. You can read the complete book and download it for free from the ResearchGate website:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/352573399_Boycott_of_Israel_is_Wrong_How_to_fight_it

The book is also available at Amazon, in electronic and paperback formats.

About the Author
Jaime Kardontchik has a PhD in Physics from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. He lives in the Silicon Valley, California.
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