Parents Defending Education has received documents via public records request detailing the curriculum for Champlain Valley School District’s class focused on social justice and protest. The class, entitled “U.S. and the Modern World: Social Movements and Protest,” focuses on a variety of political events and social movements from the 1940s through the present, and with an understanding that “racial, class, religious, and gender inequalities have played a significant role in both US and World history” and “’Declension’ after progress has been a common theme in US history.” The class is listed in Champlain Valley Union High School’s 2023-2024 course catalog. It is available as an elective for juniors and seniors.
A unit of the course is spent discussing Palestinian social movements against Israel. The unit begins with a video detailing the history of Palestinian uprisings against Israel and declares, “Until…Israel ends its occupation, we will continue to see Palestinians struggle for their rights on our screens.”
The curriculum plan also suggests teaching about the “Palestinian Youth Movement,” linking to the organization’s website. Statements on the organization’s website commend the Democratic Socialists of America’s 2023 convention and urge them to adopt an organization-wide stance of anti-Zionism to combat “a U.S.-backed fascist regime of colonial occupation, ethnic cleansing, siege, statelessness, repression, surveillance and censorship.” Recent Instagram posts for the organization display protests shutting down major freeways, proclamations of “from the river to the sea,” and the claim that “an end to the military operation and to the regime of Zionism across all our lands is the precondition for peace in Palestine—without the fall of Zionism there can never be a lasting peace.”
Another suggested social movement to discuss with students is the “Palestine Campaign,” which blames Israel for the events of October 7th, saying in a statement on their website, “An offensive launched from Gaza can only be understood in the context of Israel’s ongoing military occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, and imposition of a system that meets the legal definition of apartheid.” The statement goes on to accuse Israel of apartheid by “enacting a system of ruled designed to sustain a Jewish majority.”
The summative assignment for the unit is for students to “create a pamphlet highlighting the work of Palestinian social movements.”
No Israeli or Jewish perspectives or social movements are presented to students for inclusion in the assignment.