For those of you who haven't heard, there was big news in Tucson this week! A local school district was accused of teaching a class that promotes the overthrow of the U.S. government. (Seriously.)
A new law, HB 2281, went into effect last week. The law, which went into effect Friday, prohibits courses that:
• Promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.
• Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.
• Are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group.
• Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of students as individuals.
Last year, SB 1070 (the infamous immigration bill) was passed and tens of thousands of people fled Arizona. My school lost about 70 students and several teacher positions were eliminated. I wonder how many people will flee Arizona now. "My child can't learn about our history and our culture! Why?! We pay taxes too! Well I'm out of here!"
Who is going to dictate to us educators what we can and cannot teach? Doesn't American History promote Americans as better than everyone else? Will we have to stop teaching that? Will we ignore Martin Luther King Jr. because he makes white people look bad? Texas has tried to drop Thomas Jefferson from their curriculum. ( http://www.aolnews.com/2010/03/12/texas-removes-thomas-jefferson-from-teaching-standard/ ) Who will Arizona try and "White-Out" of history? Will our new superintendant supply us with a curriculum that is fair to all ethnic groups? That will just fail like every other attempt to make a set of national history standards. (Diane Ravitch was instrumental in one attempt at this.) However, it has always been stopped because someone cried and felt that "their" interpretation of history was not represented in the matter. History is full of differing points of view and that is the joy of it. It can cause us to look at the matter from another perspective. Isn't that what we want our students to be able to do? To form an opinion based on several different perspectives?
We will see what happens over the next few weeks. The Tucson district feels that they have violated no laws. If you read about me being arrested in the papers, I swear, I was not trying to overthrow the U.S. government. I was just reading a story about Cesar Chavez so my 16 Hispanic 2nd graders would learn about a popular civil rights activist. Will you come and please bail me out?