The Silent Intifada in American Schools
4 mins read

The Silent Intifada in American Schools

While anti-Israel activists have been vocal since October 7, their extreme views do not reflect those of most Americans. Yet their voices are amplified in our children’s classrooms in the U.S. K-12 education system.

Many parents, students and teachers are eager to get the K-12 education system back on track after bad actors hijacked the system to teach students false information about the United States, Israel, Jews and society in general.

After the October 7 Hamas massacre, many were horrified and devastated, but what came next left others perplexed. It was almost incomprehensible that students, teachers, and administrators in K-12 schools would justify terrorism, and that adults would encourage children to side with terrorists who had committed crimes against humanity. The pro-Hamas stance taken by many since October 7 exposed the deep decay in the K-12 education system in the United States.

Activists use ethnic studies programs to promote their ideological agenda, which is based on a critique of settler colonialism and its perception of oppression.

Before October 7, this battle was fought in the shadows, with activists organizing and pushing for academic requirements that would advance their agenda, such as the newly adopted ethnic studies requirement in California, Boston, and Minnesota. More sensible people welcomed classes that were representative of the ethnic and cultural diversity of our pluralistic society and worked for ethnic studies classes that did what their name suggests—taught about the experiences and contributions of diverse ethnic groups and individuals in the United States.

Unfortunately, many ethnic studies scholars and activists have chosen to define ethnic studies through radical activism and binaries of oppression rather than focusing on the study of communities and individuals.

The Battle Over Ethnic Studies in California

In the fall of 2025, California public and charter schools will be required to offer ethnic studies classes to all students as part of the high school curriculum. In California and other states and districts that have implemented ethnic studies requirements, there is a real war going on over what students should learn. Radical ethnic studies activists are using this opportunity to justify terrorism as a legitimate form of resistance and to rewrite history and current events while undermining the morality of our children.

The ethnic studies curriculum is not the only means of introducing hateful ideology into K-12 classrooms. Other initiatives such as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Culturally Responsive Education (CRE), and Teacher Professional Development (PD) are used to promote the idea that “resistance is justified when people are busy.”

Since the October 7 Hamas massacre, “liberated” ethnic studies radicals have organized strikes, encouraged students to demonstrate in support of Hamas, demonstrated in front of school boards calling for a ceasefire in Gaza that would keep Hamas in power and the 120 Israeli hostages in captivity, designed entire curricula that distort history and current events and demonize Jewish self-determination, and taught teachers and students material based on the historical erasure of indigenous Jewish identity.

Parents and teachers join forces to fight radical “liberal” ethnic studies

To support strengthened ethnic studies and combat radical activists, parents, educators, and students of all ethnicities from across the United States have united under a new initiative called Coalition for Enhanced Education (CEE)The coalition opposes the implementation of politicized programs in K-12 education.

In October, CEE will host a unique conference in Sacramento where parents, students, educators, and community members will learn how activists are politicizing K-12 classrooms and promoting their ideological agendas. The goal of this conference is to provide tools and resources to understand and challenge the militarization of classrooms.

Given the anti-Semitic, anti-American, and anti-Israel teachings in ethnic studies programs, we should not be surprised when Jewish students and professors are forced out of their schools or when national teachers’ unions support policies calling for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state. This is just the beginning, because students taught to hate today will shape the political, economic, and social landscape of America for decades to come.

If we sit idly by and allow our children to be indoctrinated in schools against liberalism and democracy under the guise of ethnic studies, we will see even more riots chanting slogans of genocide against an entire ethnic group: the Jews.

Dr. Brandy Shufutinsky is the Director of Education and Community Engagement at the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values ​​(JILV) and co-founder of the Coalition for Empowered Education (CEE).