Congressman Paul Cook

Representing the 8th District of California
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Rep. Cook Sends Bipartisan Letter to California Department of Education Condemning Anti-Semitic Curriculum

Aug 16, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Paul Cook (CA-08) joined a bipartisan group of House colleagues in sending a letter to the California Department of Education Instructional Quality Commission expressing strong disapproval of the current draft of the state’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). The intent of this curriculum is to encourage students to understand and appreciate the rich diversity of American history and the extensive contributions made by various ethnic and religious groups. The draft proposal has been criticized for not only excluding most of the American Jewish experience but perpetuating and promoting anti-Semitism and the marginalization of Jewish Students.

The California State Board of Education has acknowledged the serious problems with the current draft but has been reluctant to look at the anti-Semitic statements and actions by members of the committee writing the curriculum. It is unclear whether these individuals will be allowed to participate in any revisions to the policy.

Cook said, “As a former educator who believes that education should be primarily a state and local issue, I generally try not to weigh in on state-level educational policies. However, the egregious omission of Jewish culture and history from this curriculum and its hostility toward Israel and the Jewish people is deeply troubling. Last month the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the rising anti-Semitism in segments of our country and expressing strong opposition to the racist Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel. Proponents of BDS and other racist policies have no business participating in developing our children’s curriculum and the California State Board of Education should exclude any supporters of this racist policy from further participation.”

Representatives Brad Sherman (CA-30), Ken Calvert (CA-42), Mike Levin (CA- 49), and Susan Davis (CA- 53) joined Rep. Cook on the letter. The letter can be found here.

A member of the House Natural Resources and Armed Services Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.