SAVE ETHNIC STUDIESArizona Book Removal Published on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 by Common Dreams
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Lincoln High School, 4777 Imperial Avenue
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A catastrophe in slow motion has played out in Arizona schools over the last several years as anti-immigrant sentiment crept into state legislation guiding how and what kind of Mexican American and indigenous history could be taught in classrooms across the southwestern border state. What may have seemed absurd until recently is now a reality as boxes of banned books will now be gathered up and locked away.
UPDATED on 1/18/12: Jeff Biggers updates his previous reporting after the Tuscon Unified School District responded to various reports of books being banned in Arizona schools:
In a clarification of last Friday’s announcement of a list of Mexican American Studies books to “be cleared from all classrooms” in order to comply with a state ban on ethnic studies, the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) declared Tuesday that it ”has not banned any books as has been widely and incorrectly reported.”
But, Biggers continues, opponents were not satisfied with TUSD's explanation:
The TUSD statement “lacks accuracy and represents a thinly veiled attempt to cover up with distortions what is happening,” said Richard Martinez, the lead attorney on behalf of teachers and students challenging the ban in federal court. “Pandora’s box has been opened and the ugly face of the bigoted right wing has been exposed for what it is: an attempt to keep Latinos, poor, dumb and abused.”
Whether the removal of the books from all classrooms should be considered an outright ban or a possibly temporary prohibition brought little comfort to supporters of Tucson’s Mexican American Studies program, who sponsored an emotional community forum last Saturday with students and teachers who had witnessed the forced removal of the books from their classrooms.
UPDATE: Amy Goodman hosted a spirited debate between Huppenthal and Martinez on Wednesday's Democracy Now!:
As part of the state-mandated termination of its ethnic studies program, the Tucson Unified School District released an initial list of books to be banned from its schools today. According to district spokeperson Cara Rene, the books “will be cleared from all classrooms, boxed up and sent to the Textbook Depository for storage.”
Facing a multimillion-dollar penalty in state funds, the governing board of Tucson’s largest school district officially ended the 13-year-old program on Tuesday in an attempt to come into compliance with the controversial state ban on the teaching of ethnic studies.
This is the list of textbooks cleared from the classrooms, according to KGUN 9 in Tuscon:
Critical Race Theory– Richard Delgado
500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures – edited by Elizabeth Martinez
Message to AZTLAN – Rodolfo Corky Gonzales
Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement – Arturo Rosales
Occupied America: A History of Chicanos – Rodolfo Acuna
Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Paulo Freire
Rethinking Columbus: The next 500 Years – Bill Bigelow
The list of removed books includes the 20-year-old textbook “Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years,” which features an essay by Tucson author Leslie Silko. Recipient of a Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas Lifetime Achievement Award and a MacArthur Foundation genius grant, Silko has been an outspoken supporter of the ethnic studies program.
“By ordering teachers to remove ‘Rethinking Columbus,’ the Tucson school district has shown tremendous disrespect for teachers and students. This is a book that has sold over 300,000 copies and is used in school districts from Anchorage to Atlanta, and from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. It offers teaching strategies and readings that teachers can use to help students think about the perspectives that are too often silenced in the traditional curriculum.”
Indian Country News explains:
Arizona’s state ban on ethnic studies—in HB 2281—took effect January 1, and states that no classes can be taught that “promote the overthrow of the United States government; promote resentment toward a race or class of people; are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group; advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”
The Arizona Department of Education can withhold 10 percent of a district’s state funding if it is found in violation of HB 2281. That provision put $15 million of state funding for TUSD in danger.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne pushed for the passage of HB 2281 and has been criticizing ethnic studies programs in Tucson for years.
Arizona schools have abandoned its mission to educate students; they have intentionally denied Mexican American students access to knowledge. Consequently the Arizona bureaucracy has deliberately kept them in the fields, the mines and the prisons, hoping to deny them alternatives.The Tucson Unified School District has not only banned its Mexican American Studies program, but has now banned a number of ethnic books from its curriculum. (Image: Thinkstock)
The purpose of critical thinking is to give students alternatives and to dispel myths and repel blind allegiance to those who deny them alternatives.
According to the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, “Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.”
The motivation of the TUSD Trustees cannot be explained in terms of greed alone. It cannot be rationalized by culture alone. Money and personal gain play a role.
And explains his book, his teaching philosophy in the following video:
And, Biggers notes:
In a school district founded by a Mexican-American in which more than 60 percent of the students come from Mexican-American backgrounds, the administration also removed every textbook dealing with Mexican-American history, including “Chicano!: The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement” by Arturo Rosales, which features a biography of longtime Tucson educator Salomon Baldenegro. Other books removed from the school include “500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures,” by Elizabeth Martinez and the textbook “Critical Race Theory” by scholars Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic.
79 Comments so farShow All
Onee wonders if all references to the US role in WW2 will be removed. After all is not the teaching of "Peerl Harbor" (that day of infamy) teaching resentment against the Japanese? Even today we have people on THESE boards who claim the "Japs got wheat they deserved wheen we nuked them".
What of the Nazis and Adolf Hitler? Will textbooks no longer mention "brave US soldiers ending the tyranny in Europe". No more of that "Greatest generation" crap might be a relief. What of books on Stalin and "CommunisM".? What of books referencing 9/11 or of mentioning Islam?
There is a heck of a lot more resentment exhibited towards Hispanics and Muslims in the United States of America then there is against those poor beleagured whites.
It very clear this has nothing to do with treating peoples as indviduals and much more to do with preserving the MYTH of the Superiority of the White American male and concealing the fact that so many of the "Heroes of History" were little more then racist Thugs who whould have been right at home In Hitlers Germany.
"As part of the state-mandated termination of its ethnic studies program, the Tucson Unified School District released an initial list of books to be banned from its schools today. "
Arizona makes a racist move to edit history books, thus making an American history book entry for racism. ... That they will probably need to remove because it's immigrant history, thus making another history book entry for racism. That they will probably need to remove because it's immigrant history, thus making another history book entry for racism...
The USA did not honor that treaty., They not only began driving the Mexicans over the border , they refused to recognize land claims by the same and refused to grant citizenship rights to those that wished to remain.In California as example they took up arms killing Mexicans and refused to recognize the rights of peoples with land grants.(much like they ignored treaties signed with the Native tribes when gold discovered in placed like North Dakota)
The USA failed to live up to its obligations under that treaty from the very first and much of those territories LEGALLY belong to Mexicans and their descendants. All Land grants made to Mexicans to persons were to be honored in perpetuity as legal to persons so awarded and their descendants. This too was ignored by the new US Government.
Given that hald of the territory of the Continental USA under legal readings of various treaties signed are in fact LEGAL territories of Native Americans, I find it absurd you would cite the treaty signed with Mexico as the basis of your argument thart migrants to those areas are "illegal"
Here are a few titles. “Rethinking Columbus,” Inlcuding the following: - - Leslie Marmon Silko
- Leonard Peltier
- Rigoberta Menchu.
- Suzan Shown Harjo’s “We Have No Reason to Celebrate”
- Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “My Country, ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying”
- Joseph Bruchac’s “A Friend of the Indians”
- Cornel Pewewardy’s “A Barbie-Doll Pocahontas”
N. Scott Momaday’s “The Delight Song of Tsoai-Talee”
- Michael Dorris’s “Why I’m Not Thankful for Thanksgiving”
- Leslie Marmon’s “Ceremony”
- Wendy Rose’s “Three Thousand Dollar Death Song”
- Winona LaDuke’s “To the Women of the World: Our Future, Our Responsibility” The Tempest, by William Shakespeare Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paolo Freire Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by Rodolfo Acuña
Posted by WonderWoman
I can't vouch for its accuracy, but except that its link to a .pdf "Curriculum Audit" didn't work for me, it looks OK.
Here's a working link to the audit that includes the reading list (see appendix).