Oakland Teachers Caught Pushing Pro-Palestinian Propaganda in Schools

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Dozens of public school educators in Oakland are planning to present pro-Palestinian lessons on Wednesday as part of an unauthorized teach-in. The event has sparked controversy, with the school district opposing it and Jewish groups calling for disciplinary action against participating teachers.

The teach-in was organized by a group of activists within the Oakland Education Association, the local teachers’ union. The organizers compiled a list of suggested curriculum materials for all grade levels, from pre-K through high school. The materials call Israel an “apartheid state” and refer to “the historic and unfolding oppression and genocide of Palestinians.”

Nate Landry, a parent and spokesperson for the organizers, defended the curriculum, saying it serves as “a corrective” to mainstream education materials that they view as pro-Israel. However, the curriculum’s content has raised concerns about bias and age appropriateness.

One colouring book for elementary students features a Palestinian character who says, “A group of bullies called Zionists wanted our land so they stole it by force and hurt many people.” This depiction of Zionists as “bullies” has been criticized as inflammatory and lacking historical context.

Another book, “P is for Palestine,” teaches the alphabet with phrases like “I is for Intifada, Intifada is Arabic for rising for what is right if you are a kid or a grown-up!” This raises questions about the appropriateness of exposing young children to the concept of intifada, which can be associated with violence in some contexts.

The Oakland school district has officially opposed the teach-in, citing a school board policy requiring that “all sides of a controversial issue are impartially presented.” Kyla Johnson-Trammell, superintendent of the Oakland schools, sent a memo to parents expressing her disapproval of the event.

It remains unclear whether the district will take disciplinary action against teachers who participate.

Several Jewish groups have condemned the teach-in curriculum, calling it biased and antisemitic. Tyler Gregory, chief executive of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Bay Area, said the materials lack “viewpoint diversity and age appropriateness.”

Ms Avoth, an Israeli-American parent, said the teach-in amounted to “misinformation” and disputed its portrayal of Israelis as white colonizers.

While some teachers are participating in the teach-in, others have expressed concerns about the curriculum materials. Joshua Diamant, an Oakland music teacher, said he would be wary of both the pro-Palestinian materials and any materials slanted in the opposite direction. He called for a culture of dialogue and engagement on this complex issue.

It is unclear how many teachers will participate in the teach-in and how much of the proposed curriculum will be used in classrooms. This event highlights the ongoing debate about how schools should address controversial issues and the importance of finding a balance between presenting diverse perspectives and ensuring age-appropriate and respectful content.

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