An oblique reference to House Bill 2281 was made by a man of letters a few weeks ago on this Opinion page ("Presumptions, assumptions and Arizona's ban on ethnic studies," by Dr. Neal A. Lester, AFN, June 25). At least, that appears to have been the object of his academic scorn. Since the specific legislation wasn't mentioned, I must assume that was the gist of his fine commentary. One which brought me to hysterical tears, uncontrollable laughter and tooth-grinding anger at its effort in the science of coercion and disinformation. He must be a gift to the college classroom.
The good professor exalted the writings of Ntozake Shange as having given him enthralling insight into the work of Alice Walker and W. E. B. Du Bois, among others. After performing your due diligence, you'll learn that Walker was a feminist activist and Du Bois was a member of the Communist Party U. S. A., as well as being a civil rights activist and a brilliant man. Why is it so many scholars are utopians? Are they so narcissistic they feel they, and only they, can save the world from the evil capitalist dunces who eschew socialism and who believe in freedom and liberty?
Now, what does HB 2281 say? Here is the wording of the bill regarding policy and courses:
15-111. Declaration of policy
5. The Legislature finds and declares that public school pupils should be
6. taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to
7. resent or hate other races or classes of people.
8. 15-112. Prohibited courses and classes; enforcement
9. A school district or charter school in this state shall not include
10. in its program of instruction any courses or classes that include any of the
12 1. Promote the overthrow of the United States government.
13 2. Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.
14 3. Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.
15 4. Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as
E. This section shall not be construed to restrict or prohibit:
39. 1. courses or classes for native American pupils that are required to
40. comply with federal law.
41 2. The grouping of pupils according to academic performance, including
42. capability in the English language, that may result in a disparate impact by
43. ethnicity, race or class.
The legislation was forced due to the teaching of the precepts and concepts of La Raza in the Tuscon Unified School District. Superintendent Tom Horne tried to encourage an alternative curriculum. After laboring for more than three years, without success, legislation was the only recourse. Will it be ignored? Will it be enforced?
Don Kennedy is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in sociology. He has been a resident of Ahwatukee Foothills since 2002.