By Matt Smith, CNNupdated 7:45 PM EST, Wed December 28, 2011
Arizona ruling hits Mexican-American studies program
(CNN) -- Public schools in Tucson, Arizona, face millions of dollars in penalties after a ruling that the district's Mexican-American studies program violates state law.
An administrative law judge found the program's curriculum was teaching Latino history and culture "in a biased, political, and emotionally charged manner," and upheld state officials' findings that it violated a state law passed in 2010. The Tucson Unified School District had appealed a decision by the law's principal backer, then-state schools superintendent Tom Horne, to shut down the program.
Horne left office at the end of 2010, but his successor, John Huppenthal, backed Horne's ruling in June. Huppenthal said Tuesday's ruling shows "that it was the right decision."
"In the end, I made a decision based on the totality of the information and facts gathered during my investigation -- a decision that I felt was best for all students in the Tucson Unified School District," he said in a written statement.
Under the law, the state can withhold 10% of its funding for the school district -- about $15 million a year -- until the district changes the course. In a written statement, Tucson Superintendent John Pedicone said the school board's lawyers are reviewing the ruling, and board members will discuss it at their January 3 meeting.
During their appeal, district officials pointed out that an audit commissioned by Huppenthal praised the program and found "no observable evidence" that the classes violated state law.
A witness for the school system argued that teaching students "historical facts of oppression and racism" was less likely to promote "racial resentment" -- something specifically banned by the 2010 law -- than ignoring that history.
In Tuesday's ruling, administrative law judge Lewis Kowal said the auditors observed only a limited number of classes. He added, "Teaching oppression objectively is quite different than actively presenting material in a biased, political, and emotionally charged manner."
"Teaching in such a manner promotes social or political activism against the white people, promotes racial resentment, and advocates ethnic solidarity, instead of treating pupils as individuals," Kowal wrote. He cited a lesson that taught students that the historic treatment of Mexican-Americans was "marked by the use of force, fraud and exploitation," and a parent's complaint that one of her daughters, who was white, was shunned by Latino classmates after a government course was taught "in an extremely biased manner."
The 2010 law also bans courses that "promote the overthrow of the United States government," are "designed for a specific ethnic group" or advocate "ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals." It was passed in the same session of the state legislature that produced Arizona's controversial law cracking down on illegal immigration.
A group of teachers has asked a federal court to throw out the restrictions, arguing they passed as "a result of racial bias and anti-Hispanic beliefs and sentiments." Richard Martinez, the lawyer who represents the teachers in that case, said the decision was expected "under the circumstances."
"The law was written in a way that allows the superintendent of public instruction to control the outcome," Martinez told CNN. And Kowal noted that he was working under the assumption that the law is constitutional, "ignoring any questions raised" to the contrary, Martinez said.
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The Growth Of The Minority Population Will Inevitably, Dictate The Material Presented
Until Now, the United States of America has been dominated by the Majority Caucasian Race, in that, all the past laws have been designed and constructed, based on the race of people who were in power, and held the greatest number of educated human being,s in the United States, at that time, which were Caucasians.
There is no disagreements with regards to how America was established, and it's subsequent history of how the Native Americans or Original Indians, were forced off their lands, nor do we have to dispute how the Mexicans were forced off of the lands during the American History as well.
Additionally, the subject of Slavery, the end of slavery, and the subsequent 100 plus years of lynching, jim crow laws, and untold number of racist abuse that took place against that black population of these United States of America, isn't the subject, nor are these things going to be disputed.
The Subject matter at hand, is, the specifics of the information that is being added to history books in Arizona, in that, based on the facts of the mal treatment of Hispanics in the past, and the manner in which the information is worded in the history manuals, and how the instructor is presenting the history, based on the facts in the history books, and how that presentation of the facts can be interpreted by the hispanic students of today.
Apparently, the adults on the board feel that the existing material facts, may be "subjective" pending on the instructor, allowing the instructor's actual presentation of the material, to cause Hispanic students to interpret the U.S. History as " Harsh or Mal Treatment " of Hispanics in the past.
Based on the subjective presentation of the facts in the history books, the board feels that Hispanics may react in a negative way, and their subsequent actions may victimize caucasian children of today, thus, the objective is to remove facts from the history books, to the extent that Hispanics may not be incited by the facts of the U.S. History past.
The Actual History of the U.S. past has many abuses, with a extremely large portion of the U.S. History's abuses of non whites being "un represented" in all U.S. History Books, for at least a hundred years,,,,, as if white Americans, who ruled this country, were and are, afraid to actually speak of their history of abuses.
This is what this story is all about, and the facts are, when the population numbers ratio change from 9 to 1 whites over all others , to 9 to 4, or 9 to 8, pending your specific community, city, or state..., the ruling white boards make every effort to ensure that specific facts are not included in the U.S. History Books, within their communities, or states, because the reactions of the citizens of today, who read about how their parents or grandparents were treated, may not be the positive and pleasant reactions, based on today's ratio of minorities in a specific location.
Example: If a history book in Oklahoma City covered the Race Massacre of May 31st 1921, which described how the entire community of blacks were killed, their housed burned, and all their possessions stolen.., were taught in a high school today, what would be the reaction of the a blacks students who have a grandparent that survive that massacre?
Certainly, one would not assume that the student would be positive about a story of the U.S.'s past that he or she, is directly affected by. These violent acts of mal treatment by our racist past harms, not only the youth of today in terms of providing them with a true history of this country that ought to be part of their database of knowledge to be tapped for future references, but, the decision to hide this past doesn't allow the required type of healing that is necessary in order that we all become strong enough to discuss the past without feeling like there's a 800lbs gorilla in the room that we keep attempting to ignore.
Psychology suggests that the best way to address any issues of ones past, is to openly discuss the issue to the extent that the issue is understood from all perspectives, and all perspectives have had a chance to be acknowledged and understood. To release a burden is to ask for forgiveness, and granting forgiveness, which are the two conscious acts that must take place.
However, it's these exact type of facts that are attempting to be disallowed to be represented in these history books, in this specific instances, which is why I'm addressing this subject.
The Harsh Reality of our history is, there are children of today, who parents or grandparents, were subjected to the beatings, racist intimidations, lynching's, or other heinous crimes of our immediate past.
When a white man of 55, finds himself on a board of education, responsible with verifying the accuracy of history facts that are being presented by our history books, and recognizes that some of the facts associated with mal treatment of a race of people by whites of his father's age, or his grandfather's age, who are still living,,, , what should he do?
More specifically, what happens when the facts are associated with something that he knows or understands to be true, and may directly affect his family, in that, the acts took place in a area of his state that his parents grew up in, and he was aware of some of the facts that resulted in a death, or severe abuse?
That is the issue with this subject, and the behavior of the board is that of a person that have some degree of understanding of how the knowledge of the facts of the history of the U.S., may offend current students..., and the presentation of those facts... won't matter at all.
For Caucasian Americans, you can't run from your past. Your Parents, Grandparents, and great Grandparents...,,,, did some extremely bad things to a lot of people, and as this country becomes more and more mixed, the number of non whites will eventually cause a shift, such that, your grand children may be the few, and the history will be told... to include all the mal facts, because there will not be a majority of whites to stop the facts from being written and presented by non whites in the future.
The Best way to deal with the U.S. past of abuses by our still living parents and grandparents, is to address them today, while there are still people alive who can be held accountable, as appose to 50 years from today, when your children or grand children, are the ones who are victims of anger that your grandparents created by their acts and actions, and never lived up to their racist deeds.
You will still be alive to witness your grandchildren being abused in the same manner that your grandparents abused..., all because you chose not to tell the truth and let the chips fall where the may.... "Today".
Each day that you and I awake, we are responsible for our individual acts, and we don't commit acts today and expect our children to cover them up in the future.
Our Parents and Grand Parents knew right from wrong in his or her early years, just as you know what is right and wrong today.
It's not my fault that my father stole a car 50 years ago, it's not my fault that my uncle robbed a bank 35 years ago, and if they go to jail for their past acts today, it's not my fault.
I'm not the judge or anyone, to include my parents, yet, I forgive them for their acts of the past because I wasn't there, and I know my parents to be good people today. I have no right to judge, but, I'd be the first to challenge my parents if I found out that they did some things that could be construed as harmful to others, because wrong has no age.
In My Opinion
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