Arizona Must be Bizarro World, Right?

I don’t even understand this AT ALL! What’s going on in Arizona?!? Can anyone make sense of this?!?!? I don’t have enough question mark/exclamation point combinations for this one:

As part of the state-mandated termination of its ethnic studies program, the Tucson Unified School District released an initial list of books to be banned from its schools today. According to district spokeperson Cara Rene, the books “will be cleared from all classrooms, boxed up and sent to the Textbook Depository for storage.”


Another notable text removed from Tucson’s classrooms is Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest.” In a meeting this week, administrators informed Mexican-American studies teachers to stay away from any units where “race, ethnicity and oppression are central themes,” including the teaching of Shakespeare’s classic in Mexican-American literature courses.

I remember in public high school, there were classes offered like AP European History and a Women’s Studies class. I’m sure no one has thought of removing these offerings.

According to the Huffington Post:

Less than two months away from the 140th anniversary of the opening of the first public school in Tucson, founded by Mexican immigrant and legendary Tucson mayor Estevan Ochoa in 1872, the nationally celebrated Mexican American Studies teachers and their college-bound students will be removed from Mexican American history and literature courses and placed into unofficially approved “American” literature and history courses, including European History.

Okay. Let’s take breather and watch a clip from Seinfeld to cool our jets.



  1. There is a great deal of subtext at work here. Politics, as ever, enters the picture left, right and center. TUSD faced massive cuts to all funding were it not to remove the Mexican American studies program. Imagine, if you will, a steady reduction in funding for every aspect of the educational programs you run-to the tune of millions of dollars. Balancing one program which was in the crosshairs against a massive reduction in all programs is, unfortunately, the path the superintendent had to take in this instance. To quote Jeremy Bentham here, “It is the greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong.”

    Beyond the immediately apparent is a set of mechanisms which are being put into place. Eliminating major works from the canons of multiple courses (such as The Tempest, with its Caliban) puts into motion a greater reaction on a broader plane than may be at first site evident. TUSD is a strong school district, and it is unlikely to capitulate without seeking remuneration. When the U.S. wakes up to this recent appearance of the blight we call censorship (which goes against the grain of the Bill of Rights), the reaction may grant a restoration of freedom to school districts which try to do what they were meant to do-the education, or leading out of the darkness of ignorance-of young people.

    These educators are not fools, and, rather than fight what may well be motivated by racial issues, the long term plan of fighting ignorance by mocking it may be the course of action TUSD is taking-and it may be the wise course.

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