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Banned Books, Shakespeare and Arizona

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  • 1
    January 17, 2012 9:32:09 AM PST

    Arizona is implementing a new state law getting rid of all ethnic studies programs.  In doing so, books are being banned which deal with ethnic issues and oppression.


    Among banned texts is The Tempest, thought to be Shakespeare's last play.


    Silly me, I thought one's education was supposed to open minds and stimulate discussion - not in Arizona, apparently.


    See quote from Salon article in next post, as still unable to figure out how to copy here.


  • 2
    January 17, 2012 9:32:42 AM PST
    Another notable text removed from Tucson’s classrooms is Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest.” In a meeting this week, administrators informed Mexican-American studies teachers to stay away from any units where “race, ethnicity and oppression are central themes,” including the teaching of Shakespeare’s classic in Mexican-American literature courses.
  • 3
    January 17, 2012 6:26:25 PM PST
    It's great that we can start to focus not on the ethnicity or color of someone's skin and start to teach the basics again. The classroom is not the place for social agendas and fomenting divisiveness.
  • 4
    January 17, 2012 6:34:58 PM PST

    efritz -

    Do the basics include History classes?  Or just white, Eurocentric history, as usual.


    Black history, Hispanic history, Asian history, LGBT history, Jewish history?  Who gets their history told, and who does not?


    Oppression is part of history, all history.


    • 713 posts
    January 17, 2012 9:54:12 PM PST
    There is quite a bit of history to this. Instead of passing judgement and concentrating on the assumption that Arizona Public schools will not teach children that oppression has been part of the history, find out more what is involved.

    The issue that they are trying to prevent is the "perceived racist and politically charged teaching" in their Mexican-American Studies program. The law has exceptions. I don't think they intend to discontinue teaching history per se. In addition, I don't think it will be a successful ban though.

    Just like most laws of this kind, the way it is written, most folks think this law will be almost impossible to enforce.

    I could also bet the "The Tempest" will be one of the hottest books in AZ soon.

  • 6
    January 17, 2012 11:32:22 PM PST

    "Do the basics include History classes? Or just white, Eurocentric history, as usual."

    Oh come on, you are just being silly. Of course there is a place in history class to discuss the historical plight of different races WHERE THEY MAKE SIGNIFICANCE. For instance the story of native Americans, slavery, and the Mexican American War.

    Sure, but that's history and it should be taught in relative importance to other history classes.

    But this is what Arizona did:

    "Last year, the state put into effect the ethnic-studies law, which bans classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, encourage resentment toward a race or class of people, are designed solely for students of a certain ethnic background and advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of students as individuals."

    They did this only after reviewing documented cases of aggregious incidents involving the above issues. That's not appropriate for racial harmony nor is it appropriate for American citizens.

    Any rational person would be hard pressed to disagree with what they did.

    They didn't get rid of history class or white wash it as you imply.
  • 7
    January 18, 2012 8:40:28 AM PST
    The actual text of the bill is much less inflammatory and restrictive (and doesn't mention Shakespeare)

    The intent of the bill may be non-PC, but seems uncontroversial: the elimination of classes and curriculum that encourages racialism. The bill specifically excludes ESL classes, for instance, that might inevitably have an ethnic component.

    What particular school districts do about it (banning The Tempest?) is a bit idiosyncratic, I suppose. Does some official actually fear "The Tempest" in the library? Or did someone with a chip on their shoulder say, "we hate this bill, let's teach 'em a lesson by banning Shakespeare; I bet I can get the supe to ban it, if I write him a letter, get a bunch of signatures, mention a lawsuit. Then everyone will see.!" And the superintendent took the bait. I'm starting a pool to see how long it will be before Nazis and book-burning are explicitly associated with this bill in some article about it.
    • 10932 posts
    January 18, 2012 1:57:30 PM PST
    Wouldn't a " rational" person question the censorship of the banning of all books where " race, ethnicity and oppression are central themes" vs. unquestioningly supporting it? What are the ramifications of this type of censorship and where might it lead? It's damn near Orwellain in its implications. Perhaps they should rename the Tucson Unified School District, Oceania , where in 1984, the mantra was : " Ignorance is Strength" and " Slavery is Freedom"? Or they could call TUSD - Animal Farm where the slogan can be: " All Students are equal but some Students are more equal than others" ? How long before 1984 and Animal Farm get banned too since they have such radicalizing themes?
  • 9
    January 18, 2012 4:12:36 PM PST

    If you are a longer time resident of Elk Grove, you may remember a number of years back when a group of very conservative parents tried to have The Giver banned in the District.


    Attempts to ban books are more common than you might think.  Quite often, the books are award-winning and become classics of both literature and non-fiction.


    Powerful, excellent writers elicit some of the greatest discussions, as in Les Miserables, where there are different moral positions to debate.

    • 2518 posts
    January 18, 2012 5:20:02 PM PST
    This Arizona law is very sad. I am not surprised that there may be some radicals in certain programs, but the way to solve it is not to get rid of those programs. Oh well, they can keep living in their little hole in the ground (well, until their Hispanic population exceeds the white population).
    • 10932 posts
    January 18, 2012 6:24:52 PM PST
    Of the approximately 54,000 students in the TUSD, 75 percent are comprised of minorities - 60 percent are Hispanic. As the result of community organizing and several discrimination suits over the years the TUSD established the Department of Multi-Cultural Student Services. It laid claim to being a model "21st Century school district that fosters a systematic educational environment ... to insure that all students have equal access to an engaging , rigorous and comprehensive education. The district " valued the inherent cultural strengths and diversity , promoted cultural awareness and sensitivity in schools, in Tucson.... and beyond." Read more about it including the Federal oversight involved as well. I guess someone decided that reading those books would incite a revolution - ?
  • 12
    January 18, 2012 10:06:28 PM PST
    Anti-Americanism Disguised as Ethnic Studies in Tucson Schools

    "The program is known as “raza studies,” which means race studies, championed by organizations like the far left organization National Council of La Raza. The course does not simply teach Latino youth about their heritage, it goes well beyond that. The textbooks teach Latino youth that they are mistreated by America, training them to become radical anti-American activists. Textbooks include “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed” and “Occupied America.” Another text “gloats over the difficulties our country is having at enforcing its immigration laws.” Benjamin Franklin is vilified as a racist. White people are referred to as “gringos” and “oppressors” of Latino people. “Privilege” is described as related to a person’s ethnicity.

    At a TUSD school board meeting on May 10, one upset mother read excerpts from the textbook “An Epic Poem,” including,

    My land is lost and stolen, My culture has been raped….we have to destroy capitalism…overthrow a government that has committed abuses….to the bloodsuckers, the parasites, the vampires who are the capitalists of the world: The schools are tools of the power structure that blind and sentence our youth to a life of confusion, and hypocrisy, one that preaches assimilation and practices institutional racism.

    It has been shown that students become angry and resentful after being taught this kind of propaganda. One high school student said she did not know she was oppressed until she was told so in one of these programs. The people of Arizona voted almost 60% in favor of Proposition 107 which banned ethnic preferences and discrimination. It would be an affront to the efforts of Martin Luther King, Jr., who used civil disobedience to defeat discrimination, if a handful of radical activists successfully use not-so-civil disobedience to bring discrimination back."
  • 13
    January 18, 2012 10:20:25 PM PST


    Ata  TUSD Board Meeting


    1:24:25  -- Laura


    Thank you, thank you Board. A few months ago I was sitting at a bus stop across from Tucson High. A young girl was sitting at the bus stop next to me reading a book and we started talking. She told me she was studying Mexican-American Studies. And I asked if those were the books she was using and she said “yes.” She showed me some of them.


    I want to know why books like this one are being taught to our kids. So I sent away to TUSD, they sent me and told me this book was being used in at least five classes, including third graders. And I have the list at home. And I’m just going to read you little segments of it. This one, it starts with “An Epic Poem”


     “I shed tears of sorrow, I sow seeds of hate.” [p.17] “The force of tyranny of men who rule By farce and hypocrisy” [p.23] “In a country that has wiped out all my history, . . . stifled all my pride. In a country that has placed a different weight of indignity upon my age old burdened back, Inferiority is the new load . . . ” [p.23] “My land is lost and stolen.” [p.25] “My culture has been raped.” [p.26] “Poverty and city-living under the colonial system of the Anglo has castrated our people’s culture.” [p.32] “One note, especially to those young Chicanos: hard drugs and drug culture is an invention of the gringo because he has no culture.” [p.71]



    “We have to destroy capitalism, and we have to help five-sixths of the world to destroy capitalism in order to equal all people’s lives.” [p.88]


    “The Declaration of Independence states that we the people have the right to revolution, the right to overthrow a government that has committed abuses and seeks complete control over the people. This is in order to clean out the corrupted, rotten officials that develop out of any type of capitalistic systems.”[p.85]


    “Any country based on capitalism is based on greed.”[p.85]



    At page 72 of this book it says: “radical shit”. Excuse my words. Page 73: “bullshit”. Page 224: “chingando”. It means “fucking”. This is for third graders. It’s used also for third grade civil rights. Yes, I have the list, I can show you that. Okay.


    “Today I have a message for all the people of Aztlan: to the children, the students, . . . the workers, . . . -- the masses of our people -- and to the bloodsuckers, the parasites, the vampires who are the capitalists of the world: . . . ” [p.76] “The schools are tools of the power structure that blind and sentence our youth to a life of confusion and hypocrisy, one that preaches assimilation and practices institutional racism.” [p.78]


    This one is called “The Revolution”: “The revolution stands in life’s dark shadows; Waiting impatiently for her, his troops.” [p.187] “The revolution sees Mexicans turn into gray gringos . . . “ [p.187] “. . .brag like washed up vendidos” [p.187] [speaker explains:] Vendidos means “sellouts”. [speaker continues reading quote] “and kiss the man’s ass.” [p.187]


    Superintendent Pedicone interrupts: I’m sorry, but Dr. Stegeman I’m going to ask that the language not be mentioned during public meetings. We may have young people in this room. It’s inappropriate.


    Laura: You’re right, you’re right.


    Board President Stegeman: Thank you Dr. Pedicone., I . . .


    Laura: Thank you for reminding me.


    Man in audience: You’re teaching it in the classroom!


    Board President Stegeman: Alright, please come to order. Thank you Dr. Pedicone. I think that intervention was appropriate.


    Laura: Yes. I think I’ve said enough. Board President Stegeman: Yes


    Laura: But this is being taught. [speaker resumes reading excerpts:] “You can do it, too, become the gringo stooge.” [p.189] [Speaker’s time is up. Time stamp 1:27:41]

  • 14
    January 18, 2012 10:24:16 PM PST

    1:13:07 -- John Munger

    [upon looking into the nature of the ethnic studies]




    "I learned several things. First of all, TUSD didn’t want to give me the books. I had to do a FOIA request. When they did provide me the books, it was after five months. And they ended up not providing me all the books. Because I found other people – there were a few other people who got books – and they didn’t get the same ones I got. When I did get the books I found some very concerning things. And this is what the books say. The books are not about history.


    The books are not about ethnicity. The books teach two major themes. The two themes they teach is: first, the books are classical showpieces of Marxist oriented indoctrination. They are about political oppression, incessant deprecation of anything not Chicano – including the U.S. Constitution, capitalism, and anything European or of European culture. That’s what the books say.


    Second of all, they teach students that they are oppressed; that they are principally not American, but that they are Chicano; should not join in on American society, but should separate themselves ultimately in an area called Aztlan which is an area of the U.S. that now makes up California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas – which has been stolen . . . by the Europeans.


    The books constantly talk about the U.S. Constitution as slightly better than the Royal Charters of England but still made up by slave owners and evildoers. It talks about protests beyond the law is okay, including the word ‘sabatoge”. That is wrong. These books are not about history. These books do not present alternative points of view."

  • 15
    January 18, 2012 10:24:41 PM PST
    Sorry here is the link:
  • 16
    January 18, 2012 10:27:57 PM PST

    efritz - 

    Poetry, protest songs, and hymns have been traditional forms of emotional expression and release for oppressed peoples.

    The words of that poem seem to express what might be felt by Hispanics, legitimately felt.

    Poetry, drama, art (Diego Rivera) are outpourings of real events and the high emotions accompanying them.


    Again, you link us to a Tea Party "report".


    Were you to be one of the marginalized groups in history, you might see this differently.


    Arizona is, after all, the land of "papers please", Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Governor Jan Brewer's false claims of beheaded ranchers in the desert, the movement to  create private prisons for profit (again, Jan Brewer is involved), and now this.             

    • 713 posts
    January 18, 2012 10:39:48 PM PST
    So Oceans, you think it's appropriate to teach those ideologies to 3rd graders?

    Sure it's self expression. But so is Lindsay Lohann's spread in the Playboy. Would you deem that appropriate for kid's too?
  • 18
    January 18, 2012 11:27:15 PM PST

    I appreciate the debates we have but really, I can't imagine you think that racially offensive and divisive materially is really appropriate for impressionable youth.

    What's really ironic is the lady was being asked to watch what kind of language she was using WHEN SHE WAS READING FROM THE COURSE MATERIALS TAUGHT TO CHILDREN!!!

    I think there is a line and these studies crossed that line.

    No one is saying we can't celebrate our ethnicity and heritage. It's just that people started to catch wind of what was being taught and it wasn't just history.
    • 2518 posts
    January 19, 2012 2:13:23 AM PST
    Re: Post 12 - It is very surprising that the Tea Party should choose to quote MLK in support of their position.

    As I said before - where there are problems with a program, you modify the program. You don't use that as an excuse to get rid of the program.
  • 20
    January 19, 2012 9:23:08 AM PST

    "- It is very surprising that the Tea Party should choose to quote MLK in support of their position."

    Why is it surprising?
  • 21
    January 19, 2012 9:26:25 AM PST
    What I find surprising is that everyone thought this was a Tea Party article when in fact it's just another article that is shared amongst many blogs. The source is actually here:

    I think it's odd people choose to try to discredit the source as opposed to evaluate the content and determine if it's reasonable.
  • 22
    January 19, 2012 10:15:12 AM PST
    About, your cited source. Not saying the info published is not true, but there is a clear possibility that it is slanted. is a web-based publication and a print magazine, primarily dedicated to conservative United States politics. It was previously operated by the Heritage Foundation, but is now owned and operated by Salem Communications., which publishes daily, features more than 80 columns (both syndicated and exclusive) by writers such as Jack Bouroudjian, Dennis Prager, Neal Boortz, Ann Coulter, Dinesh D'Souza, Larry Elder, Jonah Goldberg, Rebecca Hagelin, Paul Jacob, Paul Kengor, David Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, the late Robert Novak, Thomas Sowell, Jacob Sullum, Mike Adams, Matt Lewis, Amanda Carpenter, Fred Thompson, Jeb Bush, Lisa De Pasquale and Cal Thomas.
    • 10932 posts
    January 19, 2012 11:38:28 AM PST
    Cherry picking quotes that appeal to emotion circumvents the issue of government censorship of books . Please tell me how me how " The Tempest" would radicalize students?
  • 24
    January 19, 2012 2:38:19 PM PST
    I guess no one has a problem with some of the things that were being taught. It's a different mentality than I am used to that's for sure. But Arizonians definitely are feeling the increased racial tensions and negativity these classes are promoting.

    I guess it might be different if we replaced Hispanic with WASP. I wonder how people would react if a school district wanted to have a WASP ethnic studies program that vilified other races for all the negative things done in history. Taught caucasian children that other races were targeting them, they were being opressed, putting them down, and that racial solidarity is the only way... That whites need to conquer the land and separate themselves from other cultures, purity, ... wow sounds pretty bad when put that way...
    • 10932 posts
    January 19, 2012 3:25:50 PM PST
    Regardless of what red herrings you toss in the mix Fritz, the bottom line is government censorship by banning books. Where do land on that issue? What could happen next banning " Buried at Wounded Knee" , "Battle Cry for Freedom" or "Blood and Politics- The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream" ?

    • 10932 posts
    January 19, 2012 3:33:00 PM PST
    oopsy - make that " Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"
  • 27
    January 19, 2012 4:09:25 PM PST

    California has its own way of manipulating and scewing (or, is that screwing) history to favor  white Eurocentrism.  It is so subtle that no parent would ever spot how it is done.  


    Here is an example of how it is done.


    The CA 7th grade standards in Social Studies have units on the European Middle Ages, China, Japan, West Africa, Islam, the Inca, the Aztec, the Maya, the European Renaissance, and a bit more - an awful lot really.


    The kids adore these units and really look forward to the Aztec, Maya and Inca units.

    Those are great units and the kids love learning about those nearby cultures.  In addition, this is the only time in their 12-year educations when those units will be studied.


    Here is the bad part.  Standardized testing basically has no questions (only one on each of those cultures) on the tests.  Guess what - teachers focus most all their time emphasizing the European parts of the curriculum and spend virtually no time, sometimes none, on the the units scarcely tested.  The vast number of questions on the test come from European history units.


    How wrong is that!!


    Do CA teachers teach to the test?  You betcha!  Does that leave some ethnic histories shortchanged?  You betcha!

  • 28
    January 19, 2012 8:01:23 PM PST

    You said, "Regardless of what red herrings you toss in"

    These aren't red herrings. They are the EXACT reason scrutiny came upon these courses. It's this testimony that woke everyone up. Why would it take a Freedom of Information Act to get access to the program books and curricula!!!!??!!! That's crazy. If you stand by what's being taught why hide it from the public?!!!

    You said, "bottom line is government censorship by banning books. Where do land on that issue?"

    Clearly I am against it. But what you are describing doesn't sound like government banning of books. Let's get some things cleared up. Does the state have the right to determine the curriculum? They get to teach what is taught in class right? They can say this should be taught and this should not be taught. You don't get to pick your own curriculum right?

    So, if the state decides that a particular book will not be taught, then tough. So what?

    This is a far cry from the State of Arizon banning the book from all libraries, book stores, arresting those in possesion, burning all copies, jailing the author, etc...

    It's always been a tough choice for school systems to decide what should be taught and what shouldn't.

    But it's not tough to understand, as a human that values the rights of all people no matter the color of their skin or the place of origin, that divisive racial hatred and anarchistic teachings are not appropriate in for our children.

    No one is saying they can't learn that racist sewage from their parents or extra curricular activities. It's just the tax payers don't want to fund racism.

    I think that's perfectly understandable.
  • 29
    January 19, 2012 8:28:51 PM PST
    As explained above, taxpayers DO fund racism.

    And so does the mega-million dollar testing industry. That gigantic industry (along with the textbook industry) really flies under the radar!
  • 30
    January 19, 2012 9:01:03 PM PST

    You said, "The kids adore these units and really look forward to the Aztec, Maya and Inca units."

    It's so interesting you use these examples. I absolutely loved when I learned about the Aztec, Mayan, and Incan civilizations! I am still intrigued by them. And you are right, there was very little time spent on them but then again there are literally thousands of prior civilizations we could teach. We could all be students all of our life and still miss out on so much to learn.
    • 10932 posts
    January 19, 2012 9:04:07 PM PST
    In what ways do you consider The Tempest to be "racist sewage" Fritz?
  • 32
    January 19, 2012 10:41:20 PM PST
    You are putting words in my mouth. I never said that about The Tempest. I have no idea what The Tempest is about. I was referring to the racim, anarchy, sabotage, hatred, and marxism being taught in the classroom in the official curriculum and texts.

    You never answered my question of whether you think that stuff was appropriate to be taught to children?
    • 10932 posts
    January 20, 2012 11:52:02 AM PST
    The Tempest that you acknowledge that you have no idea what it is about, was one of the books banned. Do you have any knowledge of the other books that were banned?

    Your said " No one is saying they can't learn that racist sewage etc. " which appeared to me to be inference to the books being used in the that in your words teach " anti-Americanism" in the Mult-cultural class that was btw, mandated by the Court for the school district to institute and was subject to Federal oversight for many years.
  • 34
    January 20, 2012 4:28:42 PM PST

    There are many books that people can borrow and read. Millions actually. If the Tempest is a book that includes promoting racism, anarchy, sabotage, breaking the law, etc... then it probably is inappropriate for the classroom. That's not to say they can't still read it. They can still get the book, it's not banned in that sense. The school is just saying please don't teach children things that stir up racial hatred. The school has to pick from millions of books what they want to focus on in the limited time they have the students. Of all the books I would prefer they do not teach any that support racism or intolerance.

    We need to have more tolerance of other races not more hatred. I support the actions that promote racial harmony and tolerance.

    So, do you think the stuff being taught and quoted above is acceptable? Like Hispanic children "...are principally not American, but that they are Chicano; should not join in on American society, but should separate themselves ..." is appropriate or "...deprecation of anything not Chicano..." or "protests beyond the law is okay, including the word ‘sabatoge."

    Is this type of interant and racially divisive propaganda something you agree should be taught to children?
    • 10932 posts
    January 20, 2012 6:17:26 PM PST
    What have you based your opinion on Frizt besides what you have culled from some media source that is selected to supports your bias? Have you actually read any of the banned books? Do you know if they are used as textbooks in other school districts or states?
    • 292 posts
    January 20, 2012 8:40:56 PM PST
    Caliban was the "native" inhabitant of the island that the ousted Duke of Milan Prospero and his daughter landed on after he was overthrown by his brother in The Tempest.He was the offspring of a witch and he was kind of monsterous. Caliban was held as a slave under Prospero's spell (he conveniently had magic powers) and the brutish "native" was made to do the grunt work as the three of them were all alone on the island. I would guess the oppression in that relationship was the one they object to. The rest of the play is about power struggles, redemption and a love story.
  • 37
    January 20, 2012 9:39:42 PM PST

    Your inability to answer my questions is the answer. You would allow racism to exist and hatred to be spread in these classes.

    Those "sources" cite page numbers from the texts that were being in taught to children in the class, with hatred and swear words as well.
  • 38
    January 20, 2012 9:50:53 PM PST

    This is very interesting. It appears that the whole banning story was a rumour perpetrated by the liberal media. Some of the liberal blogs overreacted and didn't question the the false story. Thus they now have egg on their face.

    Here is the TUSD News Release:

    "Tucson Unified School District has not banned any books as has been widely and incorrectly reported.

    Seven books that were used as supporting materials for curriculum in Mexcian American Studies classes have been moved to the district storage facility because the classes have been suspended as per the ruling by Arizona Superintendent for Public Instruction John Huppenthal. Superintendent Huppenthal upheld an Office of Adminstriation Hearings’ ruling that the classes were in violation of state law ARS 15-112.

    The books are:
    Critical Race Theory by Richard Delgado
    500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures edited by Elizabeth Martinez
    Message to AZTLAN by Rodolfo Corky Gonzales
    Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement by Arturo Rosales
    Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by Rodolfo Acuna
    Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
    Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years by Bill Bigelow

    NONE of the above books have been banned by TUSD. Each book has been boxed and stored as part of the process of suspending the classes. The books listed above were cited in the ruling that found the classes out of compliance with state law.

    Every one of the books listed above is still available to students through several school libraries. Many of the schools where Mexican American Studies classes were taught have the books available in their libraries. Also, all students throughout the district may reserve the books through the library system.

    Other books have also been falsely reported as being banned by TUSD. It has been incorrectly reported that William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” is not allowed for instruction. Teachers may continue to use materials in their classrooms as appropriate for the course curriculum. “The Tempest” and other books approved for curriculum are still viable options for instructors."

    There is a lot more good info here:
    • 10932 posts
    January 20, 2012 9:55:36 PM PST
    I gather you have not read any of the books for yourself then Fritz and are making judgment calls on very limited information. Anyway can take something out of context and twist it around to make it appear a certain way but when taken within the full measure of the text book and the topic, and using critical thinking skills - can do rather well. And why is it they are only removing books used in the Mexican American studies ? I have read more about the whole situation - I guess Mexican Americans shouldn't learn about their history eh?
  • 40
    January 20, 2012 9:55:45 PM PST has updated their story:

    "Update: In response to this story the Tucson Unified School District issued a statement saying that the books removed from the classrooms are still available in the District’s library system and will be considered for possible use in the 2012-2013 school year. Salon included this information in its follow-up story."

    What's important is we realize that Arizona is trying to stop racist hatred from being spread through it's school system and took action. The people supported it. It's appalling that stuff like that would be taught in America. The kids have a lot to deal with in school. The last thing they need is someone pointing out how they should hate the gringo and be separate from other races.
    • 10932 posts
    January 20, 2012 10:29:19 PM PST
    Well its nice to see that the District may possibly be used next year but in what classes? Maybe the District Superintendent didn't consult with any one before he closed down the Mexican American Studies program and removed a bunch of books ? HIs doing so was contrary to the recommendation from audit the district had hired someone to do that recommended it the Mexican American studies program be continued. Here is the link about that audit ... providing a time line as well other information ;

    Here is another link that also sheds more light on the subject - that provides a different viewpoint than the Districts position and reasoning including brief reviews of some of the books that were removed and that teachers were told at the time may not use anymore.
    • 10932 posts
    January 20, 2012 11:01:25 PM PST
    oppsy - used the same link twice - here is the other link :

    And also a shout out to .... Paul and post 36 - great synopsis - I don't know what I would have done in H.S. with out Cliff notes to get through Shakespeare - it was hard for me to read any of his works - and even harder for me to concentrate given the really cute guy who sat in front of me who I found so very distracting anyway : )

    And I find it really sad that Fritz doesn't appear to have any confidence in High School studens being able to think for themselves because they might read something that others finds controversial. Isn't critical thinking something we should value and endorse in educating our children regardless of our own particular point of view?
  • 43
    January 20, 2012 11:45:41 PM PST

    High school? This stuff was being taught in elementary. At that age the children are very impressionable. Telling third graders that the white man is their oppressor and they need to rise up, break the law, commit sabotage.. Using swear words and fostering agner.

    There's really no place for racism and intolerance like that in the American school system.

    I don't know if you were around for the civil rights movement but a lot of courageous people (including the man for which we just celebrated a holiday) fought for racial equality. I can't imagine you don't find that goal worthy.
  • 44
    January 21, 2012 7:47:22 AM PST

    John Huppenthal, the Arizona Superintendent of Education, is also a career politician, formerly an AZ state senator and representative, a Tea Party affiliated with the Tea Party wing of the Republican party.


    He is the person responsible for the book banning in the TUSD.  When a state audit ws done of the Mexican American Studies program, the program was found to be in compliance with the AZ law.  Huppenthal, however, ruled in opposition to this official audit.  The students in the program do not advocate overthrow of the government, which Huppenthal has now admitted.


    Read more about the AZ audit of the Mexican American Studies program here.  It has actually been quite a success.


    Oh, shoot, I have to give the link in the Quick Reply box.  



  • 45
    January 21, 2012 7:47:43 AM PST
  • 46
    January 21, 2012 12:28:15 PM PST
    "the book banning in the TUSD"

    Oceans, it's been reported that the book banning was false reporting by the liberal media. You can stop propogating that myth now. :)

  • 47
    January 21, 2012 12:29:51 PM PST

    To copy links in a regular reply box, click on the "HTML" button, go to the bottom, and paste there.

    Then click update and it will show up. It certainly is annoying. I do that for longer texts too. When you paste longer texts you have to mannually enter the returns since it will be one big hunk of text.
    • 10932 posts
    January 21, 2012 1:36:52 PM PST
    What appears accurate is that is that the Mexican -American Studies program was gutted- After reading the audit report that recommended continuation of this program (, and the history contained therein, I suspect the Superintendent's unilateral decision to remove all the texts and or reading list books from the classroom and to no longer offer the classes will be challenged in the Court if the governing Board of the District does not reverse his decision . . The course curriculum,s materials and text/books were all in compliance with state standards and age/grade appropriate . The High school level courses were in fact college preparatory courses. The Middle School courses for the most part were aimed towards students in the GATE program

    I cannot find any evidence that 3rd grade students were involved in the Mexican American Studies Program. Per the Audit Report
    "The population of students enrolled in Mexican American Studies Department Programs within Tucson Unified School District consists of 1,343 Middle and High School students… The Mexican American Studies Department classes are offered to all students and enrollment is by student choice If parents objected to a particular assignment due to its content – the student would be assigned an alternative assignment"

  • 49
    January 21, 2012 2:12:54 PM PST
    Hmmm - OK, not "banned", but definitely "censored" material. The books have been taken from the classrooms, boxed, sent to storage, and the teachers have been told not to refer to these books in the MAS classes. Copies may be available in libraries, but the numbers of copies are practically nil.

    One of the affected literature teachers, Acosta, has won numerous awards for excellence in teaching.

    Ban? Censor? Kind of the same difference. Both limit access to information and perspectives.

    And, it seems to me from the further reaches of my memory, that "Bless Me Ultima" has been read in EGUSD classes. Acosta says in this article that he would no longer be able to use this book.
  • 50
    January 21, 2012 2:56:05 PM PST

    You said, "Ban? Censor? Kind of the same difference. Both limit access to information and perspectives"

    By that logic you could say schools ban millions of books by simply not offering them as texts in a class or putting them on a shelf in the library.

    That's not banning, that's just not choosing the books as a particular part of the curriculum. Also, there are tons of books that have won awards, that isn't the only criteria for choosing what limited texts children are taught.

    It think it's clear that some people don't want to stand for this kind of racism and hatred taught in the class. Some people will defend that as long as they stand behind a noble notion such as "I don't believe in banning books." We could have books that teach the tennets of the KKK if we wanted to extend the analogy. But this isn't about banning books it's about stopping a radical racist agenda.