California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Assembly Bill 101, authored by Riverside Democrat Jose Medina and cosponsored by the California Teachers Association (CTA), which mandates one “ethnic studies” course for graduation from high school beginning in 2030. Newsom had previously rejected AB 331, a similar bill by Medina, because it was “insufficiently balanced and inclusive.” For Katy Grimes of the California Globe, the revamped AB 101 “is not any of those things,” and ethnic studies is not an academic discipline.
Those who opposed AB 331 note that “ethnic studies” divides the people into “us and them.” Jewish organizations protested the anti-Semitic content. The authors of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) removed their names and founded the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute, and their curriculum “is expected to be even more anti-Semitic than the original ESMC.” As Grimes shows, this is hardly the only problem.
Bank Street Graduate School of Education recently touted its new “affinity groups” for White students and “students of color.”
The New York City-based college announced the groups in a September 23 blog post, telling prospective students that “becoming part of an ongoing conversation about race and ourselves as racial beings is one way to engage in this necessary aspect of the work we need to do.”
Timothy Keiderling’s decision to enroll in the Princeton Theological Seminary reflected his commitment “to give my life to work for justice and to live out the values of the Kingdom of God.” In a letter to the seminary’s president, Craig Barnes, he wrote that he “would sacrifice anything to make sure that my brothers and sisters see relief from their oppression.”
But the seminary’s concept of justice clashed with Keiderling’s conscience when PTS required him to attend “anti-racism” training sessions that he considered a form of indoctrination. He refused to participate in the sessions even after being reminded that they were mandatory. And then – early this year, with the potent support of the newly founded Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA) – he convinced the seminary to exempt him from the training.
It was “a real victory which can advance the academic freedom cause substantially,” says Princeton Professor Robert George, a leader of the AFA who acted as an adviser to Keiderling, and whom the latter credits with making his victory possible. “Instead of a victim, we have a victor — one who stuck to his guns and persuaded his institution not only to respect his right of conscience, but to acknowledge the difference between education and indoctrination.”