Tucson, We Have a Problem

I realize that I haven’t written a blog in months. It was this whole quit my job, start my own business thing that got in the way. I still think of things that I want to say and I often look for the purple ground on issues when I am watching or reading the news. But I guess it took something extra ridiculous to motivate me to finally get back to the blog.

Here’s the cliff notes version of the story with two short videos that you should watch:

Arizona passed a law that basically said “Pupils should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people. … A school district or charter school in this state shall not include in its program of instruction any courses or classes that include any of the following:
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 individuals.”

Sounds like common sense to me.  The law also says that it is not to be applied against portions of curriculum that contain individual lessons about particular groups and historical events such as the holocaust.

Here is where things get kooky. Turns out that the Tucson School District does have a course that may violate this new law: Mexican-American Studies, formerly known as “La
Raza (the race) Studies. This course teaches that the United States stole the southwest from Mexico, that the Pilgrims brought plagues to intentionally wipe out indigenous peoples, and that Thanksgiving should be changed to a day of atonement for the evil that the U.S. perpetrated on the Mexican people.

First of all, I think the more we hyphenate our citizens, the more we replace the concept of
a melting pot with separate pots of hyphenated sub groups. In fact, a dictum on the Seal of the United States and most of our currency says “E pluribus unum” or “out of many, one”. With courses like the one in Tucson, we may have to change it to “out of many, many”

We are a land of immigrants, and that fact has made us strong as a country. Matter of fact, we are such a new country compared to the rest of the world that, Native Americans aside, we could all hyphenate our names back to some other country of origin by going back only a few short generations. What unites us as a nation is the idea that we are all Americans, with allegiance to and pride in this country, even as we honor and respect the many cultures and countries that our families came from.

If the Mexican-American studies course in Tucson were just about Mexican-American heritage, history and culture, I could at least understand the positive intentions of the
curriculum planners. I took a class in Latin American Culture in college and it was a wonderfully enlightening course.

But what we have here is something insidious and that is the reason that I thought it deserved a blog. All Americans, left, right and hyphenated, should be outraged that our public school tax dollars are being used to teach disdain for the United States and the overthrow of our government. “Sowing of seeds of hate” has nothing to do with ethnic studies; it is an attempt by socialist radicals to use our youth as pawns in their war against capitalism and the existing power structures.

Think I am exaggerating?

A concerned parent attended the school board meeting in Tucson to read jaw-dropping
excerpts from the course’s textbooks, including “An Epic Poem,” which states:

I shed tears of sorrow, I sow seeds of hate
The force of tyranny of men who rule by farce and hypocrisy,
In a country that has wiped out all my history, stifled all my pride….
My land is lost and stolen, My culture has been raped
Poverty and city-living under the colonial system of the Anglo has frustrated our people’s culture
One note, especially to those young chicanos, hard drugs and the drug culture is the invention of the gringo because he has no culture.
We have to destroy capitalism…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 developed out of any type of capitalistic systems.

Another part of the book reads,

Today I have a message….to the children, the students, the workers, the masses, and 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.”

You can watch the rest of the outrageous excerpts below. Remember, these books are
being used in five different classes with kids as young as 3rd grade.

Here is a link to the curriculum: http://www.tu4sd.com/p/faqs-ethnic-studies_16.html

And to the excerpts read aloud at the meeting:

Matter of fact, at the end of the reading, the concerned parent lists out times where
the book uses foul language, both in Spanish and in English. A school board member asks the parent to please not read the bad words in the public meeting because there are young people in the audience. The irony is not lost on the crowd and someone shouts out “but that’s what they are teaching in the classrooms!”

When truth came to light about the outrageous content of this course, the Tucson
school board held a meeting to vote on whether to make the course an elective
instead of a social studies course that retires general education requirements. The good little soldiers of the Mexican-American Studies program swarmed the meeting chanting “fight back” and chaining themselves to desks in the meeting room. The meeting had to be rescheduled. But things only got worse at the second meeting, when the riot police had to be called in to deal with the protesting youth.

The following video does a great overview of what happened. And you will notice that many of the concerned officials are in fact liberal Democrats. This is not a red / blue America issue. This is a red, white and blue America issue; which flag do our schools teach allegiance to?

So what can we learn from the madness in Tucson? First of all, who the heck was approving these textbooks? Where is the accountability? Second of all, parents have to be
involved in their kids’ schooling. Not everyone can afford private school (biting tongue on vouchers diatribe), and not all parents have the time or resources to home school. Public school is the only option for many parents. But if parents send their kids off to school with no self-appointed oversight on what their children are reading and learning, than the parents have tacitly given consent to whatever indoctrination a rogue instructor or course teaches their children.

I am not a parent yet, so I don’t want to sound preachy on the subject, but do you look through your kids’ textbooks? Do you ask for a class syllabus? Do you discuss what they learned in school today with your children? Do you ever attend school board meetings? Not only will staying involved with your kids’ education make them more likely to succeed in school, parents are the first line of defense against the infiltration of our education system by radicals or wackos teaching your kids values that do not match up to your own.

Note: apparently my videos aren’t working anymore. So I am looking for some others. Here is one that shows the protests at the first school board meeting:

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5 Responses to Tucson, We Have a Problem

  1. Elizabeth Sweet says:

    Good post, Jamie.

  2. Chris Perez says:

    Really? Is this really that big of a deal? If Texas wants to include teaching Creationism in THEIR public schools, or if California wants to teach about gay contributions to the state, or if Tuscon wants to teach about the tyranny of American history against Mexicans – that is their business. And given the city is 40% Hispanic, it really IS their business.

    This is an issue for the people of Tuscon, and by the looks at the debate, it looks like they are addressing the issue just fine. What is to be gained by adding a “fear factor” to parents that “our kids are being taught to hate America?” How is it healthy to say that there are “socialist radicals” out there trying to “use students as pawns” in their war agains America? Talk about overstating!

    I just don’t get the point of making a mountain out of Tuscon’s molehill. The course seems to study the historical relationship between America and the indigenous peoples, and guess what? We DID impose our way on them by force. We HAVE had a history of enslaving minority populations and treating them cruelly and unfairly. By your reasoning, an African American studies course shouldn’t talk about slavery and Jim Crow laws and I can assume what you think about many rap songs.

    You quote and question a poem that reflects the writer’s frustration and reaction to what he/she experienced. By that reckoning, you would say we should throw away most African American literature – and there was a ton of Black poetry out there. And yes, they too talk about “the seeds of hate.” That is the nature of art – as a vehicle of personal expression.

    I have not sat in these classes, so I don’t know what is being said – but then neither have most who would sit from afar and judge them. As a Mexican-American myself, I really doubt kids will come away hating America and trying to overthrow the government, but maybe they will come away with an understanding that event the greatest country in the world has warts.

    On their website, the Mexican American Studies department concludes with this objective: “Promoting and advocating for the demonstration of respect, understanding, appreciation, inclusion, and love at every level of service.” Doesn’t sound like “hating America” to me.

  3. Jamie try here:

    Shocking Excerpts Read at Tucson School Board Meeting From A Book In The Ethnic Studies
    Submitted by Terresa on May 12, 2011 – 1:22 pm EST

    http://trevorloudon.com/2011/05/shocking-excerpts-read-at-tucson-school-board-meeting-from-a-book-in-the-ethic-studies/

  4. Jennifer says:

    Turns out that the Tucson School District does have a course that may violate this new law: Mexican-American Studies, formerly known as “La
    Raza (the race) Studies. This course teaches that the United States stole the southwest from Mexico, that the Pilgrims brought plagues to intentionally wipe out indigenous peoples, and that Thanksgiving should be changed to a day of atonement for the evil that the U.S. perpetrated on the Mexican people.

    …so what’s the problem?

  5. Jeanne Guzman says:

    It is one thing to teach history and the mistakes that our country made along the way and there were many!! It is totally another thing to teach that the current generations are owed something because of the mistakes of generations of the past. And teaching revolution doesn’t help anything! Being a part of the solution and finding opportunity in the this great free nation of ours despite any differences is what will improve conditions. These teachings seem to add fuel to the fire of racism in my opinion. Never the less, parents should not assume everything being taught inpublic school is the same as when they went to school. Because it is not.

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