Still making us proud Pedicone! From Papers Please to Banned Books… what historical figure comes to mind? Maybe that’s why they are banning history classes in TUSD?
Controversies still rage about banning textbooks teaching evolution from classrooms. And in Tucson, Arizona, the school district didn’t simply ban books, they banned an entire curriculum: the Mexican American Studies program. (In a particularly Orwellian twist, the Tucson Unified School District insists the books from the program haven’t been banned, they’ve merely been “redistributed.”) There’s a reason we celebrate Banned Books Week (Sep. 30 – Oct. 6). There are thousands of reasons.
We get comfortable. We get complacent. We think, “It couldn’t happen here.” It can. It does. All the time and in ways that probably never receive attention from the media, books are being censored and prohibited.
“Beyond the shouting and screaming, at least let’s know the history behind [the state of Arizona today].”
- Jeff Biggers
Arizona is currently celebrating its centennial this year after turning 100 years old as a US state on Valentine’s Day, 1912.
At lot has happened in the past century, and Arizona is, without a doubt, an important and symbolic state today for reasons good and bad depending on your point of view.
Arizona is known nationwide as being anti-Mexican, the home of anti-immigrant legislation, racial profiling, banning Mexican American history and literature from schools, and the infamous Tent City of Sheriff Arpaio. But Arizona is also the state that had the only pre-college Mexican American Studies department in the nation and it worked, the state that successfully recalled the sponsor of SB1070 last year, and this election year Arizona may even become a blue state and may be the home of only the third Latino Senator in the United States (Richard Carmona), and this may also be Sheriff Arpaio’s final year in office.
In addition, over 50% of the babies being born in Arizona – a mecca for older conservative white retirees with money and political power – are Latino which only serves to escalate the drama we see being played out today.
Add to this the need for immediate comprehensive immigration reform, white supremacists in militias patrolling the border in a state that ranks at the bottom of education yet has the most lax gun laws and what you have is a perfect political storm that will last at least another decade, if not longer as generational evolution occurs.
Happy birthday Paulo Freire (Sept. 19, 1921 – May 2, 1997), Brazilian educator, philosopher, and influential theorist of critical pedagogy. Best known for his influential work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. http://zinnedproject.org/posts/3327 Photo: Myles Horton and Paulo Freire at Highlander Center in 1987 with adult educators.
To those that still don’t believe books are banned in TUSD, remember that even Mark Stegeman tried to “unban” those books recently and failed. How can you unban something that is not banned?
Even deputy superintendent Menconi admits that there are 7 books that ARE NOT ALLOWED in the classroom, Pedagogy of the Oppressed being one of them.
I am very disappointed with a story in the NY Times today about the MAS/MASS program in TUSD. It was clearly influenced by the SALC-run Arizona Daily Star and their pro-Pedicone supporting Gassen. To explain what the media continues to do to protect Pedicone, I begin with a related story.
We have seen the scene played out before in movies and literature, from Germany to the South, and using the American South as the setting, the (based on many a true) story goes like this:
A group of known racists are on the prowl. They all have their white pointed hoods on and are tracking down a black family.
Earlier that day one of the white men started pushing around one of the black boys. When the father came outside he saw this and punched the man and knocked out his only tooth. The white man told him he would pay for this as the black family ran away.
The father knew what that meant. The KKK would now be after him and his home was no longer safe. They sought refuge inside one of the white churches known to be a safe place in these types of situations.
Sure enough, that evening the cross on the church’s front lawn was ablaze in flames and the men came a-knocking with their chains, bats, pitchforks and axes in hand.
The white pastor comes out to speak with the KKK. They demand the minorities inside. The pastor says that this is wrong, that they are not here, that they should leave them alone, etc.
Then comes the ultimatum: Either let the boys out or the entire church will be burned down. The pastor prays over this. He knows that letting the boys out will lead to certain death and now is his time to stand up to injustice. Then again, the church might be burned down and the boys may still be killed… what to do?
Sean speaks about independent audit praising MAS-TUSD.
¡Mexican American Studies is alive!
LA LUCHA SIGUE
Although it has been difficult to start the school year without our MAS classes in TUSD schools, along with the loss of Sean Arce and Rene Martínez from our district, we have refused to submit. Each Sunday at the John Valenzuela Youth Center, Tucson youth and I have been meeting for Chican@ Literature After School Studies (CLASS). I believe this is yet another testament to the strength of our youth, the Chican@ community in Tucson and the historical legacy of Si Se Puede!
Just like Chicago – Tucson Teachers Need Your Help!
Even as we move forward with optimism and determination, we can never forget the reality of the academic trauma and psychological physical violence perpetrated by Arizona officials upon our community. My compañreros, José Gonzalez and Sean Arce, have faced an even more personal and malicious attack upon their families and careers, due to a frivolous lawsuit launched by underlings of Tom Horne. In spite of this full on frontal attack they have not wavered and continue struggling to teach and defend Mexican American Studies and the opportunity for Tucson youth to follow their educational dreams through the study of Chican@ art, history and cultura.
Curtis Acosta speaks about book ban and erasing MAS in TUSD
Dia De La Raza - Oct. 12 Precious Knowledge House Parties
Día de la Raza, October 12, 2012, offers an opportunity for all of us throughout the nation to show the same passion and solidarity to these amazing educators and warriors for social justice. Please join myself, and thousands of other supporters, by hosting a house party of the film Precious Knowledge as a fundraiser for the Raza Defense Fund.
Be a part of history! Register below to receive a brief informational packet on how to host a Precious Knowledge House Party. On October 12, join the fight for Mexican American Studies, for freedom of speech and our rights as Americans
To learn more about the curriculum of Tucson’s famous Mexican-American Studies program, the 93% graduation rate for their students, and the controversy surrounding the now banished classes you can online order the PRECIOUS KNOWLEDGE DVD. If you have any questions about purchasing your DVD, please contact us at:email@example.com
WRITE TODAY! Get ready to host a Precious Knowledge House Party on October 12