ANALYSIS: ‘The most radical, polemical, and ideologically loaded educational document ever offered up for public consideration in the free world’
Apparently a section that calls for students chanting to Aztec gods was not enough to dissuade the California State Board of Education from approving a sweeping new progressive curriculum.
The board last week unanimously approved what is being billed as the nation’s first statewide ethnic studies curriculum, a whopping 900-page document that aims to teach California’s public high school students about the oppression of people of color.
It tackles Black and African American, Chicano, Native American and Asian American studies.
Its approval paves the way for the legislature to draft a bill that seeks to make it mandatory in the Golden State’s public education system.
The Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum had received a massive amount of criticism in the years leading up to its approval, but apparently that doesn’t matter much in a state like California.
“We are reminded daily that racism is not only a legacy of the past but a clear and present danger,” Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond reportedly said. “We must understand this history if we are finally to end it.”
The Associated Press reports:
Crafting the curriculum took three years, drawing more than 100,000 public comments as different groups objected to being left out or misrepresented. Public comment that preceded the board’s vote drew about 150 callers, many of whom asked the board to reject the curriculum and echoed the heated debate that took place throughout its drafting. The loudest criticism came from Jewish and pro-Arab groups who accused each other of trying to silence each other’s histories.
In response to its approval, the AMCHA Initiative condemned its passage. The initiative, which combats anti-Semitism, said in a news release the curriculum is politically motivated “and will likely incite hate and division among high school students.”
The group also noted that more than “100 university scholars and academics recently argued that the curriculum ‘contains numerous empirically false and politically-motivated claims about the educational benefits of ethnic studies.'”
As The College Fix has previously reported, there had also been concerns that the curriculum frames Jews in terms of “white privilege.”
Others protested the curriculum because of its emphasis on critical race theory.
The introduction and overview to the curriculum discusses critiquing oppression in history from lenses such as “patriarchy, cisheteropatriarchy, exploitative economic systems, ableism, ageism, anthropocentrism, xenophobia, misogyny, antisemitism, anti-blackness, anti-indigeneity, Islamophobia, and transphobia.”
By teaching that “people are divided into either oppressors or oppressed groups, based solely on their skin color,” and that “white people have all of the power and non-white people have none of the power,” critical race theory creates a “divisive classroom environment that fosters resentment and bullying between students of different races,” Lori Meyers, an educator affiliated with Educators for Excellence who had lobbied against the curriculum, told The College Fix in January.
And according to a report in the World Socialist Web Site of all places, the curriculum even excludes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and downplays his civil rights movement.
The newly-imposed California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum which in part covers 20th century African American Studies, excludes Martin Luther King Jr. from the curriculum and diminishes the civil rights movement that he led. #education #MLKhttps://t.co/AVAx1cV5Z3
— World Socialist Web Site (@WSWS_Updates) March 21, 2021
The Wall Street Journal published a scathing review of the curriculum last week, noting in an editorial it “requires that students are taught to view the American creed as sinister.”
The Journal noted:
One lesson plan introduces students to what it calls “dominant narratives,” defined as stories “told in service of the dominant social group’s interests and ideologies.” A University of Michigan lesson plan that forms the basis for the outline explains that one example of a “dominant narrative” was the antebellum claim that “slavery is necessary for the wellbeing of slaves.” A contemporary example, according to the lesson plan? That “America is a meritocracy, and anyone can achieve their ambitions through hard work and perseverance.”
Why would California want to teach young people that their dreams of rising through merit are akin to defenses of slavery? Because a core tenet of ethnic studies is that a person’s identity is determined first and foremost by group membership.
What’s more troubling about its passage is that what happens in California tends to be a precursor of things to come for the rest of the nation.
Perhaps National Review’s editors said it best when they wrote last week, prior to its passage, that:
The proposed Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum is probably the most radical, polemical, and ideologically loaded educational document ever offered up for public consideration in the free world. Even after all of the many revisions made to the document, it remains at bottom a political catechism, clearly formulated for the purpose of indoctrinating children into the intersectional electoral priorities of the far Left.
That pretty much sums it up.
IMAGE: YouTube screenshot