Radical activist groups are spreading a curriculum that trains kids to be activists and hate America through classrooms across the country, according to a report from Parents Defending Education (PDE), a group aimed at taking politics out of the classroom.
In the just-released report, first shared with The Daily Wire, the education nonprofit highlights how two activist groups with links to school districts across the country put together a “critical media literacy” toolkit to guide educators when discussing the war between Israel and Hamas. The toolkit, created by the Coalition for Liberated Ethnic Studies (CLES) and the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Consortium (LESMCC), points educators to anti-American, pro-Palestinian, and anti-colonialist resources from a plethora of leftist organizations.
The toolkit put out on November 27 says it is meant for teachers, families, and community organizers. According to PDE researchers, there are at least 18 school districts and one state education agency that have links to CLES, LESMCC, or individuals and groups affiliated with those organizations.
PDE researcher Rhyen Staley told The Daily Wire that there could be more schools linked to the two groups, but that their materials would be making their way into the classroom.
“We don’t know the extent of how many schools these people are working in at the moment,” he said. “This will be used in schools if it is not already. The people behind it are not good actors. They vehemently hate the United States.”
The CLES is an organization built on the principle of critiquing “empire and its relationship to white supremacy, racism, patriarchy, cis heteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, anthropocentrism, and other forms of power and oppression at the intersections of our society.”
The CLES and LESMCC toolkit starts by stating that the mainstream media is dominated by the “Israeli narrative.”
“As we watch and listen in horror as an unimaginable catastrophe catapults forward in Gaza, we are grieving. This is both difficult and critical because the mainstream media, as well as our local, state, and national governments, are almost completely dominated by the Israeli narrative, and any mention of Palestine, liberation, anti-zionism, occupation, or stopping the genocide is immediately marked as anti-semitic,” the toolkit says.
According to the toolkit, critical media literacy is supposed to focus on “indigenous peoples,” “racially marginalized people,” and “voices rooted in solidarity and collective liberation movements.”
Staley said the toolkit was thoroughly anti-Western civilization, and viewed the world from a lens of constant oppression. “They already set the mindset that they are oppressed by the Americans and the Israelis. That’s how they do everything, that’s their mindset,” he said. “They’re all oppressed and Western civilization is the oppressor and they’re seeking liberation from Western values.”
After going through a list of questions about Palestinians and the media, the toolkit has an “action” section that asks, “Based on what you viewed, analyzed, and learned, what do you want to do to respond?” This action section is the point of the toolkit, Staley said, saying that the goal was to get students to be activists.
The toolkit includes a long list of resources, guiding users to “discern which you believe would be appropriate for students and which are more appropriate for educators and adults.”
One of the resources is a petition that accuses Israel of genocide and urges people to call on their lawmakers to support a ceasefire. It also provides a script for people to use when reaching out to lawmakers. The script was provided by the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), a group that says it works to end “U.S. complicity in Israel’s massive violence against the Palestinian people.”
Another resource shared from USCPR encourages people to “birddog your congressmember,” organize a local ceasefire resolution, mobilize a “social media storm,” and organize a “holiday disruption.”
Another resource shared is from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, better known as CAIR, and directs people on how to react when “your school or employer makes a biased statement about Israel and Palestine.”
In the curriculum section of the recommended resources, an article on how “Palestine is Ethnic Studies.” One of the authors is Samia Shoman, an associate of the ethnic studies group Acosta Education Partnership.
“Ethnic Studies pedagogy is anchored in critically analyzing global white supremacy, US imperialism, and colonialism, which includes what happened to and continues in the Arab world,” the abstract of the article says.
Slide shows designed for grades 7-12 and 9-12 from the LESMCC organization are also provided. The lesson plan for grades 7-12 encourages teachers to do a “land acknowledgement” for “US land Palestinian land.” This is to be followed by an “ancestor acknowledgement.”
“They are training the kids mentally. They are training the kids that Israel was stolen by the Israelis. And the same in the U.S., how we Americans ‘stole’ the U.S.,” Staley said of the land acknowledgement section.
PDE identified over a dozen school districts across the country that have been linked to the CLES, the LESMCC, or individuals affiliated with the organizations. Many of the schools listed by PDE are in California, where ethnic studies classes are mandated by the state.
The PDE report listed 18 school districts that have links to CLES, LESMC, or groups or individuals affiliated with the organizations. Staley said that ethnic studies classes were sold as history and anthropology, but were effectively “neo-Marxist political programming.”
For example, Berkeley Public Schools have used resources from LESMCC in the past while Castro Valley Unified School District previously approved a contract with LESMC for ethnic studies training. Parvin Ahmadi, the superintendent of Castro Valley Unified School District, told The Daily Wire that she was “not aware of our district using this toolkit.”
LESMCC was also linked to drafts of proposed ethnic studies classes at Fresno Unified School District, an ethnic studies contract with Hayward Unified School District, Lynwood Unified School District,
Other school districts are linked to Curtis Acosta, of Acosta Educational Partnership (AEP) and Acosta Latino Learning Partnership (ALLP). Resources from Acosta associate Samia Shoman feature heavily in the toolkit. The San Mateo Union High School District, where Shoman is manager of academic support programs, has also partnered with ALLP as has Santa Rosa City Schools. The Davis Joint Unified School District also inked a contract with Acosta Latino Learning Partnership back in 2022.
The Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District voted to approve a partnership with AEP over ethnic studies. MVLA Superintendent Nellie Meyer told The Daily Wire that her district does not use the toolkit developed by CLES and LESMCC.
James Logan High School in New Haven Unified School District is an affiliate of the CLES as is the Social Justice Academy of San Leandro High School. The Daily Wire reached out to both high school districts over whether the toolkit was used in schools in the area.
Other schools have been linked to CLES-affiliate Community Responsive Education (CRE). Previously, both Jefferson Elementary School District and Jefferson Union High School District partnered with CRE. There was also a proposed partnership between Pajaro Valley Unified School District and CRE.
Pajaro also worked with the Santa Cruz County of Education to partner with CRE to create an Ethnic Studies Teachers of Color Circle. One of the “coaches” was Allyson Tintiangco-Cuables, a co-founder of CRE.
Tintiangco-Cubales previously ran a workshop on “culturally rooted pedagogy” and “ethnic studies” for teachers with the Tucson Unified School District back in 2021. She has also consulted for Boston Public Schools’ ethnic studies curriculum.
Both Tintiangco-Cubales and Shoman helped develop the ethnic studies framework for Vermont’s new state-wide ethnic studies requirements. The Daily Wire reached out to the Vermont State Board of Education asking about the interaction of materials from CLES and LESMCC into schools around the state.
The Daily Wire reached out to all 18 districts asking if the toolkit was being utilized in classrooms. Pajaro Valley Unified School District Interim Superintendent Murry Schekman told The Daily Wire that the district does not “use the critical media literacy toolkit.”
Staley said that it could be difficult to track how the toolkit was being used in classrooms because teachers may take the material but not document it.
“They’ll take this information and they may not have it written down, they may not use this lesson plan. But what they’re going to do is have a conversation that, unless a kid records it and posts it on social media, we’ll never know what the conversation was,” he said.