A school district administrator outrageously called for “privileged white voices” to be silenced concerning proposed changes to the ethnic studies curriculum in a 2021 email that was sent to the California State Superintendent.
Sarnia Shoman, who is with the San Mateo Union High School District, made the comment to California State Superintendent Tony Thurmond in regard to establishing lessons for ethnic studies. She oversees the district’s English learner and academic support programs.
“We urge the [state board of education] not to give in to the pressures and influences of political lobbyists, racist & privileged white voices, and individuals,” she asserted in the email that was sent to Thurmond, according to Fox News Digital.
The proposed changes included Jewish-American studies and a curriculum that involved “multiple perspectives.”
California is the leading voice for ideologies like Critical Ethnic Studies & #CRT. It has among the worst academic results in the nation as over 75% of Black boys are functionally illiterate (as of 2017). But reading proficiency isn’t CA’s priority.
— Dumisani Washington (@DumisaniTemsgen) January 21, 2023
“The proposed revisions privileges terms like ‘multiple perspectives,’ ‘diversity,’ ‘all students’ and ‘broad range of groups’ undermining the primary focus on the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) communities that compose over 80 percent of California’s student population,” Shoman reportedly stated in her email.
Zachor Legal obtained the email via a public record request that was placed around the time that the State Board of Education approved the ethnic studies curriculum.
Shoman also allegedly called for a more radical ethnic studies curriculum involving Black Lives Matter.
“[E]ven in the African American lesson on the Black Lives Matter movement, which is a direct response white supremacy fails to call out and analyze racism and systemic oppression,” she contended in the email.
Parents Defending Education claims that Shoman is the co-coordinator of the Middle East Children Alliance’s Teach Palestine initiative.
According to the Daily Mail, Shoman is a pro-Palestinian advocate who did not want to include Jewish people in ethnic studies under the Asian American and Pacific Islander categories.
“This is grossly inaccurate, and has no institutional history,” she charged.
According to her bio on the district’s website, she is a California native with ‘Palestinian roots.’
“I have dedicated my career in public education to promoting racial and social justice in the classroom and broader educational organizations and space I work in,” the bio states. “I see my role as visioning and advocating for the continuous improvement of the programs that serve our most vulnerable, but resilient, student populations.”
The school district issued a statement to Fox News on Shoman:
Dr. Shoman … was appointed and served on the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Advisory Committee. She and her fellow committee members wrote to the California State Board of Education in their roles as members of this Committee to express their opinions. In their letter, the committee did not call for the erasure of Israel, Jews, Jewish perspective, or Jewish history in the curriculum. They do suggest that these topics do not belong under the umbrella of Asian American and Pacific Islander History. Further, the group does not criticize multiple perspectives but rather urges the Board of Education to center BIPOC voices through this curriculum.
Marc Greendorfer of Zachor Legal told Fox News that Shoman’s statements are false, “The position taken by Samia Shoman and others to treat Jews, the true indigenous people of the land of Israel, as ‘white’ occupiers and colonists is utterly at odds with history and facts.”
He went on to call the ethnic studies “political indoctrination.”
“While the idea of ensuring students are taught about the history of all ethnicities is one we support, we have found that these programs are anything but educational. Instead, they are political indoctrination by extremists who are working to institutionalize bigotry and hate in education,” he said.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation in October 2021 that requires all high school students to complete a semester-long ethnic studies course. California is the first state to do so. The mandate goes into effect in 2025.
(Video Credit: CBS 8 San Diego)
A guideline for the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum promotes “the values of civic engagement and civic responsibility,” “self and collective empowerment,” and “critical thinking and rigorous analysis of history, systems of oppression, and the status quo in an effort to generate discussions on futurity and imagine new possibilities.”
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