by David Safier
Until a few court decisions come out, the fate of the Mexican American Studies program is up in the air. Is the anti-MAS bill HB 2281 unconstitutionally vague? Is it too targeted at one program? We don't know how the judge will rule or whether the ruling will be appealed. And we also don't know if the "special master" assigned to take a look at TUSD's deseg program will weigh in on the issue. There's more to the story. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, the Star, whose editorial position has been reasonably pro-MAS, published an editorial from the LA Times, a paper which is surprisingly focused on the fate of the program, given its distance from Tucson and L.A.'s own educational problems.
Of course, [HB 2281] was designed to solve a phantom problem. There are no data to indicate that Arizona students are being taught resentment, much less that they're being encouraged to overthrow the government. Yet the state's conservatives, already at war with Latino immigrants, clearly see this as a potentially fruitful strategy to win campaign support and votes.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
Bill Bigelow, the co-editor of "Rethinking Columbus," one of the books banned from use by former MAS teachers, wrote a long, thoughtful piece in Rethinking Schools. (No, it wasn't a district-wide book ban. It only applied to certain teachers. Pedicone and Stegeman somehow think that means the books weren't "banned." In fact, it's a classic example of book banning, and its specificity makes its purpose that much more obvious and deplorable.) Bigelow commented that the only other time a book of his was banned was 25 years ago in South Africa during apartheid. He doesn't equate Tucson and South Africa. Instead, he talks about the similar attempts to keep students from perceiving their places in society and the possibility they can act to better their situations. He's an intelligent guy, and it's a serious argument, well worth a read.