“Teach-Palestine-only” in the US Senate
The House of Representatives passed the Parents Bill of Rights Act (H.R.5) on March 24, 2023. The present bill, as approved by the House of Representatives, is not perfect, but it could be perfected through dialog between both sides of the aisle, approved also in the Senate, and become a law. It would be a right step towards explicitly enshrining Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in US laws: “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children”.
The need for the Parents Bill of Rights: An example
The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest union in the US: It represents 3,000,000 teachers in elementary and secondary public schools. Their influence in setting what is taught in public schools is immense. The NEA adopted last July 2022 a resolution in support of “Teach-Palestine-only” in K12 schools. This resolution (“NBI 13”) says:
“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.”
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 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.
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.
This balanced approach was explicitly adopted by the US Congress: HR 185 Bill (year 2008) states that “Middle East refugee resolutions which include a reference to the Palestinian refugee issue must also include a similarly explicit reference to the resolution of the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries”.
“Teach-Palestine-only” had been 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.
Just in California alone there are about 1,000 independent public-school districts, and each one usually uses state or federal funds to contract outside groups to develop the curricula and materials for the newly mandatory “Ethnic Studies” courses. A significant number of these outside groups are pushing the inclusion of the “Teach-Palestine-only” narrative (under the disguise of “Arab American Studies”) as a tool to de-legitimize the State of Israel. This process is not transparent: school districts are not forwarding in details, and curricula being developed are not published. Parents are kept in the dark.
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.
A Parents Bill of Rights signed into law will provide the needed tool for parents to defend their rights and their children’s rights against anti-Jewish indoctrination and hatred.
The Jewish perspective
The Jewish perspective is presented in my book “Ethnic Studies in K12 schools: The Jewish module” (March 2023, edition). Students can read and download the book for free at
There is also a Spanish edition that is also available for free download:
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.
Jaime Kardontchik, PhD (Physics)
Silicon Valley, California
The above letter was delivered to the 100 US Senators this week. Each of the forty-nine Democratic Senators, the two Independent Senators and the Republican minority leader, received also a complimentary hard-copy of my book “Ethnic Studies in K12 schools: The Jewish module”.