Thousands Call on California Government Newsom to Veto New Ethnic Studies Bill

The California State Capitol in Sacramento. Photo credit: Wayne Hsieh / Flickr

Several thousand Californians signed a petition released Monday calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to veto the recently passed state bill making ethnic studies mandatory as a condition of high school graduation.

The petitioners argued that despite the wording of Assembly Bill 101 (AB 101) aimed at preventing the adoption of anti-Semitic or anti-Israel material, school districts could still use the first draft of the curriculum. ethnic studies, which accuses Israel of colonial colonism and apartheid.

In 2020, Newsom said the first draft Model Ethnic Studies (EMSC) curriculum was “offensive in many ways,” and then vetoed an earlier measure to demand its passage in California schools. .

The version of the mandate was passed on September 8 and was praised by the Jewish California Legislative Committee for including “significant clarifying amendments” that they said addressed concerns raised by the Jewish community.

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September 27, 2021 4:26 P.M.

But, the petitioners wrote on Monday, “despite the new ‘guardrail’ language, AB 101 does not, and cannot, by law prevent a school district from adopting the first overtly anti-Semitic bill or program. Even more extreme Liberated Ethnic Studies (LESMC) model to be peddled to school districts by the authors of the first draft.

“The Liberated program includes overtly anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist lessons and explicitly promotes student engagement in actions aimed at harming Israel,” says the petition, which says it was signed by “2,972 members and supporters of the California Jewish community ”.

The signatories also objected to the procedure for the use of alternative courses by school districts other than the state model curriculum, in which a “locally developed” ethnic studies course can be taught provided it is first presented at a public school district meeting, then approved.

“The Jewish community is simply not able to challenge an anti-Semitic program in each of the hundreds of school districts where it will likely be considered, and it is a moral outrage to expect Jewish parents to fight anti-Semitism taught their children in a state-mandated course, ”they said.

Governor Newsom has until October 10 to enact AB 101.

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