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Banning Books In Tucson

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It was bad enough that the state of Arizona forced the Tucson School District to end their ethnic studies classes (which had 700 students enrolled).

Now, “Salon” reports that the District is taking it a step further and banning certain books from schools that are related to the topics studied in the class, including Rethinking Columbus, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Brazilian educator Paolo Freire and “Occupied America: A History of Chicanos” by Rodolfo Acuña.

Those are just a few of the banned books.

What in the world is the District leadership thinking?

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

5 Comments

  1. Hmm, that´’s interesting. Thanks for sharing – I honestly can’t think why any competent School District would ban a book (let alone several), unless maybe they had dirty pictures…and even then – it rather brings to mind “1984″.

    It’s counter-intuitive for an educational authority to discourage students to read, and even if that material doesn’t fall in line with that authority’s philosophy, students should be allowed to engage with the subject in order to form their opinions. The world is far from a set of polar-opposites – so who wants to produce a graduating class of clones? If the district itself happens to disagree with the content, there should still be room for debate. There is no progress without disagreement. It shows a lack of faith in their own students not to come up with reasonable interpretations of “controversial” material. We live in the Information Age; where is there room for censorshop? Ignorance is strength? I think Winston would disagree.

    “From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:
    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”

  2. Pingback: Banning Books In Tucson | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day… | Books Palace

  3. As a product of TUSD (well, from long ago mind you, when it was actually a school district that worked) and the sister of a teacher in TUSD, and the aunt of two students who attend TUSD (middle and high school respectively), the recent developments of this district are so disappointing. According to the recent QC2012 report (where no school scored a A and the national average is a C), Arizona finished 44th. Earning a C- in both early childhood education and college readiness, as well as a C- in an overall chance for success, means (to me) that eliminating books is not the answer in educating the children of Tucson, much less in Arizona. My educational experience at University High School (a magnet school created for gifted and talented students) prepared me well for college and career. I worry that because of the current trends in Arizona (and the budget cuts they are facing) my niece and nephew will not be as well prepared for the changing national and global landscape.

    Of course Arizona is not alone. Without one single state scoring an A it means tough conversations for all of us. With waivers pending, waiver applications soon due, Rttt accountability, new curriculum, new assessments…it is important to acknowledge that situations that are taking place in one state, such as Arizona, may in fact become the norm in other states as well. We cannot think that this is an isolated moment in one district (or state) and need to be aware that if this becomes acceptable practice for one, it could be seen as acceptable for all.

    (http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2012/01/13/arizona-schools-finish-near-bottom-in-national-report-card-on-education/)

  4. What are they thinking? Simple, Larry: How are we going to keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree?They will claim to be “protecting” the impressionable young minds, but that’s a lie. It’s a lack of trust. It’s all about thought control.

  5. Larry — please read the judge’s ruling. It might change your opinion:

    http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/documents/doc/122711_tusd_mas_doc/

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