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PORTSIDE  January 2012, Week 3

PORTSIDE January 2012, Week 3

Subject:

More on the Tucson School Controversy ..."Arizona is now officially practicing American Apartheid"

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Date:

Thu, 19 Jan 2012 21:06:25 -0500

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text/plain (326 lines)

More on the Tucson School Controversy ..."Arizona is now
officially  practicing American Apartheid"

* Authors banned in Tucson Unified School District respond
* Video: TUSD vs The Tempest - to teach or not to teach
* Reports of TUSD book ban completely false and misleading -
  Tucson Unified School District Press Release
* Copies of books in TUSD libraries?

=====

* Authors banned in Tucson Unified School District respond

by Debbie Reese

American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)
January 18, 2012

http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/

As I find them, I will add responses from authors whose
books were taught in the now-outlawed Mexican American
Studies program at Tucson Unified School District:

SHERMAN ALEXIE

On January 17th, 2012, Sherman Alexie tweeted:

http://www.fallsapart.com/

	"With the ban on ethnic studies, Arizona is now
	officially practicing American Apartheid."

Teachers who taught in the Mexican American Studies program
that was shut down last week are no longer allowed to teach
two of his books:

 * The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven
 * Ten Little Indians


BILL BIGELOW

On January 13, 2012, Bill Below wrote on the Rethinking
Schools blog:
http://rethinkingschoolsblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/rethinking-columbus-banned-in-tucson/

    Rethinking Schools learned today that for the first time
    in its more-than-20-year history, our book Rethinking
    Columbus was banned by a school district: Tucson,
    Arizona.  [...] What's to fear? Rethinking Columbus
    offers teaching strategies and readings that teachers
    can use to help students consider perspectives that are
    too often silenced in the traditional curriculum.

Teachers who taught in the Mexican American Studies program
that was shut down last week are no longer allowed to teach
Rethinking Columbus, a book he edited that includes essays,
poems, and prose by American Indian writers.

 * Rethinking ColumbusL The Next 500 Years


JOSEPH BRUCHAC

In an email to me on January 17, 2012, Joseph Bruchac said:

    In the long run, I think the actions of the Tucson
    School Board may end up in a positive way--by drawing
    attention back to RETHINKING COLUMBUS and creating
    further awareness of the complex legacy of Cristobal
    Colon. Either this was their intention all along (closet
    progressives that they are on the school board) or
    (thinking in terms of nautical metaphors), they are
    attempting to save the sinking ship of the myth of
    heroic European colonialism by an action as effective as
    bailing with a tea cup!

His essay, "A Friend of the Indians" is in Rethinking Columbus, a book that teachers who taught in the Mexican American Studies program are no longer allowed to teach.


SUZAN HARJO

In an email to me on January 18, 2012, Susan Harjo said:

    The banned books and other materials removed from the
    Tucson public schools are a good start for a required
    reading list. I consider it a mark of distinction to be
    among the banned authors for my part of Rethinking
    Columbus. I am honored to be in the company of other
    writers who are targeted in Arizona's war on ethnic
    studies. I hope their reckless actions help raise
    awareness among more and more people of good will about
    what this last gasp of white supremacy is doing to our
    children and young people.

Her essay, "We Have No Reason to Celebrate" is in Rethinking
Columbus, a book that teachers who taught in the Mexican
American Studies program are no longer allowed to teach.


WILLIAM L. KATZ

On January 18, 2012, via email, I received William L. Katz's
response:

    As the writer of two essays contributed from my Black
    Indians: A Hidden Heritage to Rethinking Columbus, a
    former public school teacher for fourteen years, and the
    writer of forty history books that have earned praise
    from sources ranging from the Wall Street Journal to
    Howard Zinn, I can only hope this pathetic censorship of
    ideas and knowledge that aims to keep young people
    uninformed about their lives, their society and the
    struggles that shaped their country and world, that this
    stupid decision in Arizona, will finally lead to a
    resounding victory for an inclusive, multicultural
    curriculum. We all deserve that, to read what we want,
    to learn what we need, and to understand our history not
    as patriotic, tasteless pablum, but something
    substantial and true enough to enable us to live in a
    country and world that was built by women and men of
    every race and region, and to appreciate and enjoy our
    neighbors. Part of this is learning that women and men
    were not handed democracy and justice but often had
    fight and sometimes die for it, and this is particularly
    true if they were in the way of those bent on conquest,
    exploitation, or just the pursuit of obscene profits.

His essay, "Black Indians and Resistance" is in Rethinking
Columbus, a book that teachers who taught in the Mexican
American Studies program are no longer allowed to teach.


MATT DE LA PENA

On January 16th, Matt de la Pena wrote on his blog:
http://mattdelapena.com/blog/?p=194

    A truly scary situation. Tucson schools have just "shut
    down" all courses related to Mexican American Studies
    (in essence, banning Chicano authors). If you're
    familiar with Tucson's racial makeup, you know this
    means that literally thousands of Chicano students will
    no longer be allowed to see a reflection of themselves
    in literature. The teachers literally had to pack up the
    books and remove them from their classrooms.

Teachers who taught in the Mexican American Studies program
that was shut down last week are no longer allowed to teach
his book, Mexican WhiteBoy.

[About Debbie Reese: "I am tribally enrolled at Nambe Pueblo
in northern New Mexico. I'm from the Upper Village (Yates
family).]

==========

* Video: TUSD vs The Tempest - to teach or not to teach

http://youtu.be/KlWpYz1KyjE

6:20

Audio of Curtis Acosta discussing "The Tempest" with TUSD
assistant superintendent Abel Morado and Tucson High School
asst. principal David Mandel

Audio from a meeting with MAS teacher and TUSD
administration discussing The Tempest by Shakespeare. If it
is taught in a way that discusses race, or "the Natives", or
"Critical Race Theory" then it cannot be read in the
classroom.

Uploaded by ThreeSonorans on Jan 17, 2012

==========

* Reports of TUSD book ban completely false and misleading

Tucson Unified School District Press Release
January 17, 2012

Contact: Cara Rene, Communication Director, (520) 225-6101,
[log in to unmask]

http://www.tusd1.org/contents/news/press1112/01-17-12.html

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 Mexican 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 Administrative
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.

The suspended Mexican American Studies classes were
converted last week to standard grade-level courses with a
general curriculum featuring multiple perspectives, as per
the directive by the state superintendent. Students remained
in classes with their teachers, who are now teaching general
curriculum.

As the district has taken action to comply with the order
from the state, the goal of the district has continued to be
to prevent disruption to student learning. Books used as
instructional materials in the former Mexican American
Studies classes were collected only from classrooms in
schools where the courses were taught. Again, all the books
are still available to students through the TUSD library
system.

In one instance, at Tucson High Magnet School, materials
were collected from a filing cabinet while students were in
class though teaching did not stop during the process.

Tucson High Magnet School Principal Dr. Abel Morado
acknowledges that the gathering of materials could have been
accomplished outside of class time in all instances.

"We had a directive to be in compliance with the law and
acted quickly to meet that need," says Morado. "Part of that
directive is communicating with teachers, students and
parents, and collecting materials. We regret that in one
instance materials were collected during class time."

==========

* Copies of books in TUSD libraries?

by Debbie Reese

American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)
January 18, 2012

http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/

Yesterday's press release from the Tucson Unified School
District states that books used in the Mexican American
Studies classes are still available to students through
their libraries.

There are over 1,000 students in the classes. Now, I doubt
that 1,000 students would head over to the library to check
out Rethinking Columbus, but I wondered how many copies
there are in the libraries.  It was easy to find out. Their
library databases are online. Here's what I found (I wasn't
able to access the database at Southwest Alternative High):

Catalina High has 0 copies
Cholla High has 1 copy
Howenstine High School has 0 copies
Palo Verde has 0 copies
Project M.O.R.E. School has 1 copy
Pueblo High has 2 copies
Rincon/University High has 0 copies
Sabino High has 0 copies
Sahuaro High has 0 copies
Santa Rita High has 0 copies
Tucson High has 0 copies

Amongst the TUSD high school libraries, there are 4 copies
of Rethinking Schools.

Perhaps, as I write, the librarians are entering additional
copies (the ones taken from the classrooms) into their
databases... Anybody know? Are those boxed copies being put
on library shelves?

==========

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