By Bill Bigelow
Imagine our surprise.
Rethinking Schools learned today that for the first time in its more-than-20-year history, our book Rethinking Columbus was banned by a school district: Tucson, Arizona. According to journalist Jeff Biggers, officials with the Tucson Unified School District ordered that teachers pull the book from their classrooms, evidently as an outcome of the school board’s 4-1 vote this week to abolish the Mexican American Studies program.
As I mentioned to Biggers when we spoke, the last time a book of mine was outlawed was during the state of emergency in apartheid South Africa in 1986, when the regime there banned the curriculum I’d written, Strangers in Their Own Country, likely because it included excerpts from a speech by then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela. Confronting massive opposition at home and abroad, the white minority government feared for its life in 1986. It’s worth asking what the school authorities in Arizona fear today.
Continue reading full article on the 1/13/2012 Rethinking Schools blog.
Mexican American Studies Program teacher Curtis Acosta.
- Precious Knowledge. Film about the impact of and struggle to save Mexican-American Studies in Tucson.
- American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL). Daily posting of news, analysis, relevant legislation, resolutions, and more on the Mexican American Studies program.
- Behind the Curtain in Tucson: A letter from Curtis Acosta. Posted on the Rethinking Schools blog on Jan. 28, 2012.
- Arizona Unbound: National Actions on Mexican American Studies Banishment. By Jeff Biggers, Huffington Post. Jan. 25, 2012. More articles by Jeff Biggers on Tucson.
- Statement from the American Library Association. Resolution Opposing Restriction of Access to Materials and Open Inquiry in Ethnic and Cultural Studies Programs in Arizona. Jan. 24th, 2012.
- Banning Critical Teaching in Arizona: A Letter From Curtis Acosta. Posted on the Rethinking Schools blog on Jan. 23, 2012.
- Progressive Librarians Association Statement on Censorship and the Tucson Unified School District. The Progressive Librarians Guild believes a challenge should be issued regarding not only the onerous situation, but the politics underlying the decision to cut District’s Mexican American Studies program (MAS) program. Jan. 21, 2012.
- J. Winter Nightwolf’s WPFW/Pacifica Radio Program. Interviews with Rudy Arredondo, Dr. Roberto Cintli Rodriguez, and Dr. Rudolfo Anaya, Jan. 20, 2012.
- Debating Tucson School District’s Book Ban After Suspension of Mexican American Studies Program. Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal and Richard Martinez, the attorney representing teachers and students trying to save the Mexican American Studies program. Democracy Now!, Jan. 18, 2012.
- Teaching Critical Thinking in Arizona: NOT ALLOWED. Article by Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children’s Literature blog, Jan. 15, 2012. (And reading list from Mexican-American Studies program.)
- ‘Repeat After Me: The United States Is Not an Imperialist Country—Oh, and Don’t Get Emotional About War. Article by Bill Bigelow, Rethinking Schools, about the ruling against Mexican American Studies. Dec. 29, 2011.
- Tucson Orders Closure of Mexican-American School Program as Ethnic Studies Faces Nationwide Threat. Democracy Now! Interview on Dec. 29, 2011.
- Un-Discovering Columbus: An Interview with Bill Bigelow on Censorship, Tucson, and Democracy in Education. The Autumning Empire. Mar. 8, 2012.