Friday, May 14, 2010

Utah May Follow Arizona's Lead And Pass A Law Restricting Ethnic Studies Similar To Arizona HB 2281

On May 14th, 2010, KSL Channel 5 reports that Utah State Senator Howard Stephenson (R-Draper) is considering drafting a law to restrict ethnic studies in Utah schools, similar to the law recently passed in Arizona. Governor Jan Brewer signed Arizona's bill, HB 2281, into law on May 12th.

Senator Stephenson reports receiving complaints from numerous constituents about ethnic studies in Utah schools. He says that ethnic studies, as presently presented, tend to stray from Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to not judge people by the color of their skin. Ethnic studies also occasionally tend to be anti-White and anti-American. The University of Utah's ethnic studies program is outlined HERE; you'll note that there's no provision for European-American ethnic studies. But Senator Stephenson won't necessarily duplicate Arizona's law; instead, he'd craft a solution uniquely responsive to Utah's situation.

The first step will be taken by an education interim committee this summer, when it will hold a full hearing on the issue in public schools and higher education.

Arizona's law is HB 2281. Some of the key provisions, as spelled out in this summary, include prohibiting a school district or charter school from including in its program of instruction any courses or classes that:

-- Promote the overthrow of the United States government.
-- Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.
-- Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.
-- Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.

This was necessitated by the fact that many ethnic studies classes had been hijacked by anti-racist white progressives and actual non-white racists who taught that the United States committed "genocide" against the American Indians and that the United States "stole" the Southwest from Mexico. The first allegation trivializes and minimizes real genocide committed in Europe and Asia during the 20th century, and the second allegation disregards the fact that we not only whipped Mexico fair and square in battle during the Mexican War, but afterwards, when Mexico sued for peace, we generously paid them $15 million (equivalent to $380 million today) for the territory they voluntarily ceded to us, AND also agreed to take over $3.25 million (equivalent to $81.4 million today) in debts Mexico owed to American citizens, as spelled out in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Unlike most nations, America has been historically generous to defeated enemies.

It is believed that Governor Brewer was specifically targeting the Tucson Unified School District, whose ethnic studies program had been found objectionable. The District's Chicano Studies Program has been under fire for using a book entitled "Occupied America: A History of Chicanos," by Rodolfo Acuna, a professor and founder of the Chicano studies program at Cal State Northridge. The title of the book implies to the kids that they live in occupied America, or occupied Mexico. The Tucson District also has a notorious affirmative action-based disciplinary policy favoring Blacks and Latinos. The District has just issued a statement defending their program.

Arizona HB 2281 does NOT restrict or prohibit the following:

(1). Courses or classes for native American pupils that are required to comply with federal law.

(2). The grouping of pupils according to academic performance, including capability in the English language, that may result in a disparate impact by ethnicity.

(3). Courses or classes that include the history of any ethnic group and that are open to all students, unless the course or class violates subsection A.

(4). Courses or classes that include the discussion of controversial aspects of history.

And nothing in the law shall be construed to restrict or prohibit the instruction of the Holocaust, any other form of genocide, or the historical oppression of a particular group of people based on ethnicity, race, or class.

1 comment:

Joseph L. Puente said...

Instead of monopolizing your comments section I just wrote by own blog post in response to some of your remarks.

http://puentesperspective.blogspot.com/2010/05/counterpoint-on-utah-copycatting.html