San Francisco, CA – Alliance for Constructive Ethnic Studies (ACES) announced its partnership with Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER) to promote a balanced, constructive ethnic studies model curriculum that counters racism without a narrow political indoctrination. The growing alliance among non-partisan grassroots organizations is important as the California State Board of Education (SBE) is scheduled to adopt a model curriculum (ESMC) in late March. Supporters of the organizations submitted thousands of comments to the SBE, requesting revisions to improve the curriculum.
The problematic third draft of the ESMC promotes a divisive victim/oppressor model that presents history through an anti-Western, militant lens. For example, the ESMC directs students learning about the South Asian impact on California to use the narrow lens of “political contributions to anti-imperial and anti-colonial movements,” thus ruling out the study of influential leaders such as Kamala Harris and journalist Fareed Zakara.
“An effective ethnic studies curriculum provides students with a breadth of perspectives to learn about each other and empowers them to combat racism by building bridges of empathy and understanding,” said Elina Kaplan, founding member of ACES. “Instead, the current divisive draft still promotes narrow ideological dogma and uses leading questions that impose a foregone conclusion. We are working with CFER to encourage a curriculum that recognizes students as more than simply victims or oppressors.”
Both grassroots coalitions share a common goal of rejecting the political propaganda of the current ethnic studies curriculum and will continue to advocate for California students to receive an education that encourages inquiry and builds common ground.
“Every California student deserves an education that promotes multicultural inspiration, critical thinking and academic excellence. The current Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum stokes racial divisions and animosity by subjugating our society to a binary race-based lens. In a unifying spirit, CFER is collaborating with ACES to champion a genuine and constructive curriculum of ethnic studies in California’s public K-12 schools,” said Wenyuan Wu, Executive Director of CFER.
Concerned members of the community are encouraged to submit comments to the SBE, Governor Gavin Newsom, and their state representatives, asking that the draft curriculum be modified to eliminate divisive, militant language and support a constructive approach to ethnic studies.
Background about ACES:
ACES is a diverse grassroots coalition working to remove narrow political agendas from Ethnic Studies, enabling curricula that inspire mutual respect, fight racism, and foster balanced analysis. Over the past month, ACES has collected thousands of comments from concerned individuals through the coalition’s website. To learn more about ACES, the ESMC, or submit comments: www.calethstudies.org
Background about CFER:
CFER led a successful grassroots campaign against Proposition 16 which voters rejected last November. The 2020 ballot initiative would have brought back government preferences on the basis of race and gender in public education, public employment, and public contracting. Upon the historic campaign, CFER founders have restructured the organization into a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and raising public awareness on the principles of equality and merit.