Jewish Community Relations Councilof San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties


Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum: State Board of Education to Act

March 16, 2021
Posted by: JCRC Staff

Thursday, the final draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum heads to the State Board of Education (SBE) for an up-or-down vote. If approved, the model curriculum becomes the official state guidance document for ethnic studies. This final draft appears to address the major concerns set out nearly two years ago by JCRC and our partners in the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California.

The most recent draft of the curriculum:

  • Keeps out denigrating content about Jews, Israelis, and Israel.
  • Includes lesson plans on the Jewish American experience, as well as references to and definitions of antisemitism.
  • Adds language to protect students from discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, race, religion, and more.

The Jewish community’s engagement and advocacy, in large part generated by JCRC’s #JewsNotIncluded campaign, garnered more than 39,000 actions and comments to the California Department of Education, and represented nearly one-third of all comments received during the nearly two-year process. We hope that the SBE will support the positive changes, which benefit all students.

Thursday’s SBE Meeting

The SBE will consider the curriculum on Thursday, March 18. There will be an accompanying live webcast for the public. The SBE adopts curricula and frameworks that inform and guide the local development and implementation of specific curricula for K-12 students. Please note that the SBE does not write curricula, though it may make changes. Typically, it acts on the recommendations of the Instructional Quality Commission.

Live comment will be limited to one minute per person. If you choose to make a comment, please remember to be respectful, focused and acknowledge both the benefits of ethnic studies for students as well as the many positive changes made to the curriculum as described below.

Not the End

A model curriculum may be interpreted and implemented very differently in each of the 1,000+ school districts across the state. Moreover, the state legislature is poised to make ethnic studies a graduation requirement for all public-school students. JCRC will continue to be engaged, educating and advocating at the district level for high quality and inclusive ethnic studies.