Arizona strikes again: Now it is ethnic studies
Arizona doesn't know when to quit.
First a new law was put on the books requiring police to question anyone who simply appears to be in the country illegally. It’s the most restrictive in the country.
Then there was news that the state Education Department had ordered school districts to remove from classrooms teachers who speak English with a very heavy accent or whose speech is ungrammatical. Of course nobody would want a teacher to stay in the classroom if students can’t understand them, but determining who that is can be tricky.
The move was apparently aimed at Spanish-speaking teachers who had been hired in the 1990s during the state’s era of bilingual education, which, incidentally, ended in 2000, according to the Wall Street Journal. Curious that it took 10 years for officials to realize that students, apparently, were having trouble with heavily accented teachers.
And there is this: State lawmakers have passed legislation that prohibits any classes 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.
Few people would support a class that promotes resentment of a race of class of people, or the overthrow of our government. But the bill’s intended target is actually a Mexican-American studies program in Tucson Unified School District that allows students to learn in history and literature courses about how particular ethnic groups influenced history, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
District officials say the program only provides historical information. The kids learn, for example, that Arizona was once part of Mexico, and that in the 1960s Chicano radicals called for reclaiming the land. Sounds dangerous, doesn’t it?
So whatever would drive the legislature to do this?
Well, the Associated Press reports, the state’s Republican superintendent of public instruction, Tom Horne, is behind the bill. Horne, who is running for attorney general, has wanted to limit the program for several years, since he learned that Hispanic civil right activist Dolores Herta told Tucson high school students that “Republicans hate Latinos.”
Horne said he believes the district’s ethnic studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people and promotes racial hatred. Public schools, he said, should not be encouraging students to resent a particular race.
Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, was quoted by the Arizona Daily Star as saying that the legislation is really an effort to stop the program. Bingo.
You can’t make up this stuff.
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| May 4, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories: History | Tags: Arizona and heavily accented teachers, Arizona and law, Arizona immigrant law, Mexican-american studies, ethnic studies in Arizona, heavily accented teachers, history
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