by Sean Milligan
For the past several years, the Tucson Unified School District has spent millions of dollars on its “Mexican-American Studies” studies curriculum. These programs are designed to teach Mexican students in the district that America is an evil, racist empire and that the American Southwest is really Aztlan—the ancestral home of the Aztecs that rightfully belongs to Mexico. The classes were so racist that one of the teachers in the program, John Ward, wrote in 2008 that “the basic theme of the curriculum was that Mexican-Americans were and continue to be victims of a racist American society driven by the interests of middle and upper-class whites.” The classes, many of which are taught by unlicensed teachers, also preached revolution against the U.S. and praised Che Guevara and other Latino revolutionaries.
In response to this disgrace, the Arizona House of Representatives passed HB 2281 in May. The bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer, prohibits any public school in the state from teaching classes that “promote the overthrow of the U.S. Government,” “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” or “advocate for ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” A group of TUSD teachers sued the state to block the law, and it’s currently in the courts.
On April 26, 2011, the TUSD board of governors was scheduled to have a public meeting about the Raza Studies program and how to design it in accordance with HB 2281. The meeting had to be canceled, however, after dozens of Raza Studies students stormed the meeting room, chained themselves to the board members’ chairs, chanted pro-Mexican slogans and pounded tables. A video of this illegal demonstration can be found here:
This is not just an impulsive action by a handful of misinformed teenagers, but the natural consequence of the Raza Studies program itself. Students are taught that American institutions of government are racist, that the state of Arizona is illegally occupied by “gringo invaders”, that violence is the only effective means of political action, and that the tactics of Marxist revolutionaries like Guevara are to be idolized. Is it any wonder that they act like this?
Thomas Jefferson understood that an educated populace was crucial to the survival of our Republic, and was one of the first Americans to propose widespread public education. In 1785, he wisely argued that grammar school curriculum should consist primarily of “the most useful facts from Grecian, Roman, European, and American history.” Why? Because Greek, Roman and European cultures formed the basis of both our government and our national identity. And, though it is now impolitic to admit, those cultures collectively represent the pinnacles of human thought and accomplishment.
In the same years that Europeans were inventing the printing press, developing the heliocentric model of the universe, painting the Sistine Chapel and designing cathedrals, the Aztecs were sacrificing 250,000 people a year and cannibalizing their remains. The myth of equality between these cultures that the Raza Studies program promulgates is a dangerous lie with dire consequences for our country.