July 2, 2008

Come Study La Raza

News from my hometown.

Within a year, it seems, all of Tucson’s children will be taught based on their ethnicities distinctive curricula that will share no common denominator as strong as the condemnation of whites and of the United States

The name of the nation’s most visible, self-defined Latino civil-rights organization, the National Council of La Raza, translates as the National Council of The Race. The official website denies it, of course, but we have dictionaries. That controversial term — La Raza — is gaining currency: Some K-12 public schools now teach something called “Raza Studies.”

Like those in Tucson, for example. The Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) has, in fact, welcomed Raza Studies in its classrooms for about a decade, but it’s been mighty secretive about the association.

What, exactly, is Raza Studies? Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne asked that question in November 2007 when he inquired if it wouldn’t be too much trouble for TUSD to send to him the Raza curricula it was teaching and the textbooks from which it taught them. Actually, TUSD replied to Horne, meeting his request would be a heckuva lot of trouble.

Then the local papers piled on Arizona’s superintendent. The first sentence of a November 26th editorial in the Tucson Citizen read, “Memo to Tom Horne: Butt out.” Another editorial, titled “Horne meddling in TUSD’s ethnic studies efforts,” this one in Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star, noted that “Students enroll in these classes because they cover information that is not offered in other classes. While U.S. history classes and textbooks do a better job than those of the past of including more about our shared history, much is left out.”

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