Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo
California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #20-100
December 9, 2020
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and Experts Discuss Approaches to Countering Anti-Semitism in Education to End Hate Virtual Classroom Series

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today joined leaders from the Museum of Tolerance in a virtual classroom session on countering anti-Semitism, part of the ongoing Education to End Hate initiative designed to explore and confront multiple forms of racism, hate, and bigotry that persist in schools and communities today.

Today’s webinar, titled “Understanding Contemporary Anti-Semitism: An Introduction for California Educators,” focused on how anti-Semitism has evolved over time, how it spreads in digital spaces, and provided tools to identify contemporary anti-Semitism and hate. Speakers included Liebe Geft, Director of the Museum of Tolerance, and Emily Thompson, Associate Director of the Research Department at the museum, which is dedicated to challenging visitors to understand the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts and confront all forms of prejudice and discrimination in our world today.

“Tragically, anti-Semitism and many other forms of hate and bigotry did not only exist in dark periods of our history but in fact still continue to impact us today, and I believe education can be a powerful tool for creating the change we need,” said Thurmond. “Today’s professional development session gave educators tangible strategies that are immediately applicable and that illustrate how our classrooms can create pathways to healing and understanding.”

Today’s presentations included a robust overview of the history of anti-Semitism, clear examples of what contemporary anti-Semitism looks like, and how educators can identify contemporary anti-Semitism. Resources offered by the Museum of Tolerance included a lexicon booklet of anti-Semitic symbols and language, an action card from the museum’s Combat Hate program, and sample lesson plans.

The Education to End Hate initiative has three components: Educator training grants, which have been awarded to schools and districts across the state and will be used to support the improvement and development of curriculum as well as address systemic problems in policies and procedures; this virtual classroom series; and finally, the upcoming creation of a roundtable with leaders, social justice organizations, educators and lawmakers, to brainstorm additional ideas for ways schools can influence the change necessary to ensure a physically and emotionally safe learning environment that is inclusive for all students.

An archived broadcast of this virtual classroom session can be found on the California Department of Education (CDE) Facebook page External link opens in new window or tab..

Today’s session followed last month’s professional development event which focused on pedagogical approaches to teaching about Native Americans. The webinar series continues January 12, 2021, centering on countering Islamophobia and held in partnership with the Islamic Networks Group. More details about that classroom session and further Education to End Hate Initiative updates will be posted on CDE’s social media channels.

Members of the public with questions and feedback on the initiative are encouraged to reach out at

# # # #

Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Thursday, December 10, 2020
Recently Posted in News Releases