The curriculum, which is used in numerous California districts, has been criticized for its “radical anti-American and anti-Western ideas.” The report found that the curriculum “glorifies militant Marxist ‘role models,'” such as “the leader of a paramilitary Marxist organization responsible for over 130 bombings in U.S. cities and Maoist activist Yuri Kochiyama.”
Kochiyama expressed support for Osama bin Laden, saying, “I consider Osama bin Laden as one of the people that I admire. To me, he is in the category of Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba, Fidel Castro, all leaders that I admire.” Remarks made two years after 9/11.
The curriculum, known as the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Consortium (LESMCC), was established to develop ethnic studies programs for local school districts after the California State Board of Education mandated that all students learn about “historically marginalized peoples which are often untold in U.S. history courses.”
The curriculum lesson plans have been criticized for asking kindergartners to say an Aztec chant as a “cultural ritual” before introducing an ethnic studies lesson and facilitating students developing a “racialized interactional identity.”
LESCMM will also solicit pledges from students to become activists for the issues presented. “We not only engage students in understanding the various forms of oppression, but in developing critical consciousness,” the pledge states.
The curriculum’s website maintains an explicit endorsement of critical race theory, and its concepts are embedded throughout its K-12 curriculum. Intersectionality is a concept coined by a critical race theorist named Kimberlé Crenshaw. It holds that a person who is in various oppressed categories can be marginalized by multiple systems “simultaneously.”
LESMCC provides a 3rd-grade lesson on a book “Julián Is a Mermaid” to teach kids about the intersecting oppressive systems. The book is about a gender non-conforming boy who wants to become a mermaid. During the book, the boy repeatedly strips down to his underwear. Later, he puts on lipstick and dons a headdress.
The “critical consciousness” begins by having students develop their “racialized intersectional identity” and to determine how their race fits into “systems of power and oppression.”
The lesson plans state students should believe the following: “We understand and critique the relationship between white supremacy, racism, anti-Blackness… capitalism, cisheteropatriarchy, anthropocentrism, and other forms of power and oppression.”
Anthropocentrism regards humans holds that “human life has intrinsic value while other entities (including animals, plants, mineral resources, and so on) are resources that may justifiably be exploited for the benefit of humankind,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Cisheteropatriarchy is a “system of power that centers cisgender, heterosexual men and masculinity at the top of a gender/sexual hierarchy,” according to Indiana University Bloomington.
Before the lessons begin, students will be asked to do a “land acknowledgment” and a “cultural ritual.” One of the rituals asked students to say an Aztec chant, In Lak’ech, which has sparked controversies after critics said it was an ancient polytheistic prayer to the Aztec gods and had no place in schools.
Marc Greendorfer of Zachor Legal said the California ethnic studies mandate caused districts to include curriculum that was “anything but educational. Instead, they are political indoctrination by extremists who are working to institutionalize bigotry and hate in education.”
Parents have already begun speaking out about the “hateful” ethnic studies curriculum they are uncovering in their districts. “Instead of teaching a divisive curriculum, why not teach American values like liberty? We are more alike than we are different,” one parent said to oppose the adoption of a curriculum in the Carlsbad Unified School District.
LESCMM leaders did not immediately respond to a request for comment, including whether they are bringing the ideology expressed in the ethnic studies curriculum into their classrooms and districts.
The Institute for Liberal Values has warned that such agendas can damage the United States internally by instilling hostile and inaccurate views of American democracy into school kids, erroneously portraying our democratic system as fundamentally racist, violent, and oppressive.