03 January 2011

It's 2011, AZ - no more 'ethnic studies' for you..

..or more specifically, any state funded class that might possibly:
1.  PROMOTE THE OVERTHROW OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. 
2.  PROMOTE RESENTMENT TOWARD A RACE OR CLASS OF PEOPLE. 
3.  ARE DESIGNED PRIMARILY FOR PUPILS OF A PARTICULAR ETHNIC GROUP. 
4.  ADVOCATE ETHNIC SOLIDARITY INSTEAD OF THE TREATMENT OF PUPILS AS 

(Apologies for the caps - I took this verbatim from the actual HB2281 text.)
I didn't catch any clarification of what could be described as ethnic, but feel safe in saying that it's loosely defined as "people who don't look like they're from around here".  Vagueness and free speech issues aside, even more disturbing to me was something further down in the bill's text:
15-112.E.  THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED TO RESTRICT OR PROHIBIT: 
     ...
3.  COURSES OR CLASSES THAT INCLUDE THE HISTORY OF ANY ETHNIC GROUP AND 
     THAT ARE OPEN TO ALL STUDENTS, UNLESS THE COURSE OR CLASS VIOLATES 
     SUBSECTION A. 
4.  COURSES OR CLASSES THAT INCLUDE THE DISCUSSION OF CONTROVERSIAL   
     ASPECTS OF HISTORY
And who exactly determines what aspects of history are 'controversial'?  I will guess that it means "anything we don't agree with".  I'm glad they're ok with me bringing my non ethnic friends to class in order to discuss a singular American version of history (and the entire paragraph that my old school textbook dedicated to the Philippine-American War).  I don't know about you folks, but the controversial stuff was typically the only parts of class I was interested in.  
The law was written specifically to go after a Mexican-American history and culture program in the Tucson Unified School District, but applies to the whole state.  Arizona's Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne was a major force behind the law, but apparently hasn't had the time to actually go and visit any of the program's classes himself.  He's planning to announce the District's violation on Monday - on the first day of his new job.
Mental note - continue to stay the eff away from AZ.. Thanks for reading.


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