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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