Jaime Kardontchik
Jaime Kardontchik

Letter to California legislators: Ethnic Studies

Dear California Assemblymember:

The present California Assembly Bill AB-101 does not satisfy anyone: the “Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum” approved in March 2021 has been downgraded by the AB-101 to just “one possibility out of many” and local school districts can set the actual content of the “Ethnic Studies” course(s) as they wish. The “Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum” (LESMC) proponents are strongly pushing local school districts to adopt their openly antisemitic curriculum. The “Los Angeles Times” newspaper in an editorial piece published on September 20 recommended governor Gavin Newson to veto the AB-101 and send it back to legislators. [1]

I have a practical suggestion: Make “Ethnic Studies” an elective course.

It is often suggested – in support of having “Ethnic Studies” courses – that teaching high-risk minority students their history, culture and heritage can have a positive impact on them and on their chances of graduation. I agree. However, it does not make sense for all students to be forced to take such course, irrespective of their ethnic background and no matter what their actual academic standing at school is.

Ethnic Studies” can be an elective course(s) similar to “World Languages” courses offered by many school districts. Parents could propose to their local school district a particular “Ethnic Studies” course. For instance, one could have “Latin American Ethnic Studies”, “Black American Ethnic Studies”, and so on. In fact, “World Languages” (for example, Spanish, French and Chinese) and “Ethnic Studies” have much in common and could be lumped together into one category of electives for the purpose of fulfilling the credit points needed for graduation.

The above proposed solution does not mean that the often-contentious discussions between the proponents of the various Ethnic Studies Model Curricula is resolved, but it takes out from the conflict the thorniest issue: the forced indoctrination of self-hate on Jewish (and other) minors in a compulsory course based on Critical Race Theory, the rape of their mind by an adult, disguised as a teacher, using the power of the pulpit and the authority endowed by the school. There is nothing “consensual” in this relationship.

The fight will continue to eradicate antisemitism from any courses taught at a public school, including elective courses. But the author optimistically believes that once a course becomes “elective”, most teachers of “Ethnic Studies” courses will come to understand that they will have to be inclusive and eliminate offensive and racist content from their teaching, otherwise their audience will dwindle from semester to semester and their courses will end up being cancelled for lack of participants.

The above letter (signed by the author) was sent this week by standard mail (US Postal Office) to each and every Assemblymember of the California Legislature.

Reference:

[1] “Editorial: California’s latest ethnic studies bill is not quite ready for prime time”, “Los Angeles Times” newspaper, September 20, 2021

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-09-20/editorial-californias-ethnic-studies-is-not-quite-ready-for-prime-time

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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