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In Arizona Public Schools, Ethnic Studies Are Banned but Bible Studies Are Forced Under New Law

In Arizona, students belonging to the single largest  ancestry group in the state are banned by law from learning about their culture and history in public schools. But under a new law, they can study the Bible and its influence on society.

The Huffington Post reports that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed House Bill 2563, which requires the state Board of Education to create a high school elective course called “The Bible and its influence on Western Culture,” into law. As the course’s name suggests, the class would include lessons on the history, literature and influence of the Old and New testaments on the laws, government, culture and other aspects of Western civilization.

HB 2563 was approved by the House in February and the Senate passed it by a vote of 21-9 last Thursday.

Under the law, the bible course must maintain religious neutrality. Rep. Terri Proud, the Republican who sponsored the measure, claims teachers will only be able to teach the Bible “in a very restricted way.”

“It is everywhere around us, and to say that I don’t want my child exposed to that, then we might as well not have air and breathe because it is implemented into our society,” Rep. Proud told MxFox Phoenix.

But based on that logic, Proud should support ethnic studies courses because Mexican-Americans are “everywhere around us” in Arizona and if the state’s parents don’t want their children exposed to Chicano culture, they might as well not live in Arizona, which after all was part of Spain for much longer than it has been part of the United States.

I only bring this up because Proud and the rest of Arizona’s Republican lawmakers were so keen on banning ethnic studies courses in the state’s public schools that they actually passed a law which did exactly that, leading to an absurd state of affairs in which the Tucson Unified School District  banned Shakespeare.

So, to recap: Arizona lawmakers have passed a law forcing the Board of Education to create a course dedicated to studying a 2,000-year-old book of questionable pedigree and veracity because the influence of that book is “everywhere around us,” while banning courses, some of them nationally renowned, that teach about the history and culture of the state’s largest ancestry group.

Only in Arizona.

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2 Comments

  1. Rebecca SmithApril 24, 2012 at 2:51 pmReply

    GOOD !! The ‘single largest ethnic group’ of mostly illegal aliens; who gives a damn? Why are they so special? Does every state in the Union have some CLAUSE that whatever the LARGEST ethnic group BESIDES, whites, blacks, etc., GET THE HISTORY OF THEIR COUNTRY TAUGHT IN PUBLIC SCHOOL?

    WHY? I thought this was AMERICA. I thought we were all AMERICANS; not this or that. How are we ever supposed to form a cohesive community if everything is done to keep people SEPARATE.

    Isn’t it enough we have black history studies, black history month, civil rights requirements, etc.

    by the time you start including every ethnic group that cries about their OLD countries history, there won’t be any time for anything else.

    WE LEARN THE HISTORY OF AMERICA….YES it is tied to Europe’s history, BUT THIS IS AMERICAN HISTORY; THAT IS WHAT AMERICANS NEED TO LEARN.

    THOSE ETHNIC STUDIES in Arizona included works of people who called for overthrow of the american government, for hispanics to have their OWN separate government, be ineligible for the draft, YET still receive the benefits of being AN AMERICAN. Could you BE MORE GREEDY?

    NO – mexican history, live in mexico / Nigerian history, live in Nigeria – the history of the arabs & islam, WHY? We are not arabs; we are americans.

    You people are ridiculous. I mean some of the things you talk about are correct and right, and dealing with real human rights issues.

    THIS ISN’T ONE of them. They have no more right to enforce the ethnic studies that encourage divisiveness and overthrow of the american government than any ethnic group has to force their own history requirements onto american citizens.

    THEY OUGHT TO BE HAVING AN EXTRA ENGLISH CLASS and INSTEAD be taught about how to open a bank account, apply for a job, how to dress properly for job interviews, how to pay bills and shit like THAT.

    • Brett WilkinsApril 24, 2012 at 3:56 pmReplyAuthor

      American history? You mean the story of how white Europeans (Spanish) came to North America and started a genocide against the Native Americans? Or how the United States stole what is today Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada and parts of Utah and Colorado from Mexico after the 1848 war, continuing the genocide against the Natives in the process? Oh wait– those were all parts of the ethnic studies courses you want banned! Doh!

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