A pro-Palestinian group that has faced criticism for downplaying the attacks by Hamas against Israel conducted a workshop for Oakland, California teachers earlier this month. The event aimed to integrate “Palestinian history, narratives, and culture” into K-12 education, according to an event flier provided by Parents Defending Education.
The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) organized the session titled “Palestine in Our Classrooms: Teaching to the Moment — 75 Years of Resistance, Resilience, and Sumood.” The training featured discussions about “Palestinian and Arab Youth” sharing their experiences of being overlooked and muted, exploring Palestinian culture through art, adopting diverse viewpoints, particularly on Gaza, and ways for K-5 teachers to educate about Palestine.
Erika Sanzi from Parents Defending Education told the Daily Wire that the workshop is merely an effort to introduce political agendas into the classroom. “There is no reason for K-5 teachers to be talking about any of this with their students,” Sanzi said. “The Teach Palestine organization is providing this training because it sees teachers as a vehicle for indoctrinating young children into their geopolitical worldview during the hours they are away from their parents. It is a definite red flag.”
The day after Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,200 Israelis, MECA held a pro-Palestinian event in San Francisco. They posted a message on X stating, “We are witnessing the people of Gaza rising up to respond to decades of Israeli settler colonial violence. The US govt bears responsibility for its political, economic & military support of this brutal apartheid regime. Join us to stand in solidarity with Palestine.”
MECA is also associated with the Democratic Socialists of America’s “Educators for Palestine” summer program, which featured a session led by Jody Sokolower from MECA’s Teach Palestine Project. Sokolower, who has contributed to a book on incorporating feminist and LGBTQ themes into school curriculums, participated in this training. Following the October 7th incidents, there’s been a significant push by pro-Palestinian groups for the inclusion of anti-Western content in schools, often through ethnic studies programs.
To make matters worse, the Oakland Education Association (OEA) has also taken a very public anti-Israel stance. The OEA encountered criticism for a series of posts in October, one of which labeled Israel as an “apartheid state.” Additionally, the teachers’ association removed an Instagram post expressing “unequivocal support for Palestinian liberation.” Furthermore, the OEA invited the public to participate in a pro-Palestinian demonstration titled “Stop The Genocide in Gaza” late last year.
“Public schools should not permit external groups that endorse the murder of Jews to teach Middle Eastern history to young children,” stated Greg Burt, Vice President of the California Family Council. “Teachers’ unions and training should focus on advocating for the academic needs of students, rather than indoctrinating them with a pro-Hamas political agenda.”
It is imperative for educational content to remain neutral and focused on equipping students with knowledge and critical thinking skills rather than serving as a platform for political activism. As political agendas overshadow academic objectives, parents need to remain keenly aware of what is happening in their children’s school districts and hold them accountable.