AJC San Francisco Ethnic Studies Event Recap, September 16, 2019

Matthew Finkelstein and Susan George attended AJC San Francisco’s excellent event “Next Steps for California Ethnic Studies Curriculum” on September 16, 2019. Assemblymember Marc Berman of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus provided several critical updates, but the most important pertained to the September 20, 2019 Instructional Quality Commission meeting.

On September 20, the Instructional Quality Commission that advises the California State Board of Education on the proposed Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) will be meeting in Sacramento. The entire day will be focused on the ESMC with discussion and public comment. For those wanting a truly representative and just curriculum, it is critical that we stay engaged, informed and provide input whenever possible. Friday is an opportunity to do just that and all are welcome.

Leaders Arsen Shirvanyan from the Armenian National Committee and Samir Kaira from the Hindu American Foundation also presented. Each spoke passionately about the need for the ESMC to be truly representative of all minority communities, rather than pitting one against another or leaving certain communities out entirely.

An overriding question throughout the event was how did this travesty of a draft curriculum happen? Why was there so little transparency? While Assemblymember Berman confessed that he didn’t have the answers, the Legislative Jewish Caucus is committed to addressing this as we move forward. A statement from Superintendent Tony Thurmond on the ESMC also was released yesterday, which we find most interesting.

PZC will be at the IQC meeting, ready and prepared to assist our community in any way we can. Thank you AJC for hosting us and the San Francisco Bay Area community!