NEA’s ‘Teach-Palestine-only’ attitude
Talk to the National Education Association (NEA): Request they withdraw their one-sided NBI 13 resolution and replace it by a new one supporting the teaching of both perspectives of the Arab-Israeli conflict. “Teach-Palestine-only” is not education: It is indoctrination. The Jewish perspective must be heard and discussed in class too.
The NEA is the largest union in the US: It represents about 3,000,000 teachers in elementary and secondary (“K12”) public schools. Their influence in setting what is taught in public schools is immense. In their last annual meeting held on July 2022, the NEA adopted a New Business Item (NBI 13) that states: “NEA will support members who educate students and other members about the history, geography, and current state of affairs of the Palestinian people. NEA will provide state affiliates with a clear protocol for members doing this work to utilize when they are under attack.”
What are they afraid of? Be inclusive!
The story of the systematic legal and social discrimination against the Jewish minorities in the Arab countries, the pogroms they endured and the ethnic cleansing of almost one million Jews from the Arab countries must be taught too. Israel was born as a nation of refugees. It emerged from the ruins of the Jewish communities in Europe and the Arab countries. This story must be told too.
The Jewish perspective of the Arab-Israeli conflict is presented in my book “Ethnic Studies in K12 schools: The Jewish module”. The book comes in two editions that can be downloaded for free:
Teachers are free to distribute digital copies of my book or print as many copies of the book as they need for their class. To maximize accessibility, the books are also available at Amazon.
The above is a letter I am lately sending to high-school teachers in the US. Join me in this effort: If you live in the US, talk to K12 teachers and to Congress. Defend and fight for your rights: “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.” (Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
The NEA will be holding their next annual meeting at the end of June 2023, so there is no much time left to change direction, repel the NBI 13, and adopt a balanced and inclusive approach: Urge the NEA to support the teaching of both perspectives of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Public schools should be dedicated to education and not indoctrination.
“Teach-Palestine-only” had been originally pursued in the 2019 “Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum” (“ESMC”) for high-schools in California. This led the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, to veto this curriculum, since it served in practice as a venue for anti-Jewish content.
NEA’s NBI 13 “Teach-Palestine-only” attitude makes matters worse, since it expands to all grades in elementary and secondary schools: children from young age, attending elementary and middle schools in all the 50 states, will now be exposed to one-sided anti-Jew indoctrination and hatred under the mantra of “teaching about the Palestinian people”. Notice that in California, Assembly Bill 101 that established “Ethnic Studies” as a new mandatory course required for graduation, restricted it on purpose to high-school students only, since the subjects taught in this course usually require a level of maturity in the students – who are still minors – that cannot be expected from children in elementary and middle schools.
Personally, I am not a fan of teaching the Arab-Israeli conflict in K12 schools in the US: K12 public schools already struggle to teach the basic tools and subjects that children need to succeed in life (English, Math, the History of the United States and Civics come to mind). The Arab-Israeli conflict is not one of them. It would be wiser to concentrate on the basics and avoid diverting state and federal funds, teacher resources and precious student hours to this subject. However, if the NEA insists, then both perspectives – the Arab and the Jewish perspective – should be included and discussed in class.