New Travesty in AZ (from the LA Times...)

ME - posted on 05/12/2010 ( 47 moms have responded )

2,978

18

193

Arizona bill targeting ethnic studies signed into law
Gov. Jan Brewer signs the bill that bans schools from teaching classes designed for students of a particular ethnic group. School districts may appeal the law, which becomes effective Dec. 31.


May 12, 2010

A bill that aims to ban ethnic studies in Arizona schools was signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Jan Brewer, cheering critics who called such classes divisive and alarming others who said it's yet another law targeting Latinos in the state.

The move comes less than 20 days after Brewer signed a controversial immigration bill that has caused widespread protests against the state. The governor's press office did not return requests for comment Tuesday evening.

HB 2281 bans schools from teaching classes that are designed for students of a particular ethnic group, promote resentment or advocate ethnic solidarity over treating pupils as individuals. The bill also bans classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.

The bill was written to target the Chicano, or Mexican American, studies program in the Tucson school system, said state Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Horne.


» Don't miss a thing. Get breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox.

School districts that don't comply with the new law could have as much as 10% of their state funds withheld each month. Districts have the right to appeal the mandate, which goes into effect Dec. 31.

Tucson Unified School District officials say the Chicano studies classes benefit students and promote critical thinking. "We don't teach all those ugly things they think we're teaching," said Judy Burns, the president of the district's governing board.

She has no intention of ending the program, which offers courses from elementary school through high school in topics such as literature, history and social justice, with an emphasis on Latino authors and history. About 3% of the district's 55,000 students are enrolled in such classes.

Horne has been trying to end the program for years, saying it divides students by race and promotes resentment. He singled out one history book used in some classes, "Occupied America: A History of Chicanos," by Rodolfo Acuna, a professor and founder of the Chicano studies program at Cal State Northridge.

"To begin with, the title of the book implies to the kids that they live in occupied America, or occupied Mexico," Horne said last week in a telephone interview.

Also last week, Augustine Romero, director of student equity in the Tucson school district, said it now had become politically acceptable to attack Latinos in Arizona.

Ethnic studies are taught at high schools and colleges nationwide, but the Tucson district officials say their 14-year-old program is unique because it's districtwide, offered to grades K-12, and can satisfy high school graduation requirements.

In Los Angeles, more educators have been attempting to build curriculums, teaching lessons or units in ethnic studies, especially with the growth of charter schools in the area, said Maythee Rojas, the president of the National. Assn. of Ethnic Studies. "I don't think it's uncommon anymore," she said.

In Tucson, the program is supported by a court-ordered desegregation budget, and is part of the district's initiative to create equal access for Latinos.

Board member Mark Stegeman said he believes the board needs to consider the program carefully and whether the courses, as taught, violate the new law. Perhaps an external audit could be done to assess that, he said.

Ethnic studies courses are sometimes controversial because people believe the programs are attempting to replace one voice with another, Rojas said.

The Tucson district plans to double the number of students in Chicano studies in the upcoming school year, said Sean Arce, the director of the program. Arce said that now that the bill has become law, he's waiting for direction from the district's legal department.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Dana - posted on 05/12/2010

11,264

35

495

THERE'S NO MONEY TO BE HAD TO RAISE TAXES.

Can I make that any clearer? lol When you've got illegal immigrants that are a drain on your local economy and people who aren't home owners, paying property taxes, popping out 5 kids and they're all going to school then yes, there's no money.



And the question of are they not learning in school so they have to have homework is just stupid. If you want to state that your kids don't have homework then fine but to imply that kids aren't learning in school like the "almighty Canada" is just snobby...

Johnny - posted on 05/13/2010

8,686

26

322

It seems like part of the problem is allowing citizens to directly vote on every single issue. It seems like a serious problem that those who don't give a crap about education can vote specifically to not fund it properly. Here, we've got to vote in the government that we think will make the best decisions and then abide by those decisions. Perhaps it is less "democratic" but at least old people done having kids and those who hate children can't write our educational futures. Is it not the case that the citizens voting yes on all sorts of program additions while voting no on funding has resulted in the California deficit debacle?

ME - posted on 05/12/2010

2,978

18

193

Maybe they are afraid of what Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans will discover about their cultures and their own abilities if they take classes where brilliant people of color create, design, and write interesting works...perhaps they feel threatened that students will recognize the genious of someone like Sherman Alexie Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or Isabel Allende and somehow avoid learning about all of those dead white men...

[deleted account]

It's really frustrating to sit and read through Arizona Education bashing as an Arizona Educator, and future administrator. Despite the problems across the state with defunct budgets, school closures, illegal students, a variety of ethnicities, I have to say that I am still very proud to teach Arizona students! Yes it's on a shoestring budget but districts seem to manage. I am proud of all of my students past & present for their accomplishments. I agree there needs to be a huge overhaul change in education because AMERICAN students as a whole nation are far behind so many other world countries. So would it make the rest of the country happier if Arizona just becomes its own country so we don't have to embarass the rest of the nation by the educational policies that are on the governor's agenda? I am so sick of the griping about public education when the voters fail to pass bonds and overrides, consequently causing schools to close down and fire hundreds of teachers and support staff. How about thanking a teacher for a job well done! And if you truly felt you received an inferior education, then please feel free to become highly qualified and see if you can help solve the problem! There is no such thing as a rich teacher here in Arizona and even in those affluent districts, they don't pay as well either. Aren;t there greater issues to resolve than Tom Horne & Gov. Brewer's personal vendetta against minorities?

Isobel - posted on 05/13/2010

9,849

0

286

I hope nobody takes offense to this...but we really are spoiled up here. In high school, we took women's studies (should those be cut down south too?), we also had aboriginal studies, black history classes, classical civilizations, etc.

I must admit that I have to agree with Amie, I constantly hear from the American Media "we pay too many taxes!"...but Americans have more money and pay less taxes than most of the rest of the world.

You may say, we don't have any money in Arizona because of Illegal Immigrants, but in Almighty Canada, provinces that are suffering get what we call equalization payments to help with education costs and the like...why do the wealthier states not contribute to the suffering ones? Sorry, I forgot...that's socialism I guess.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

47 Comments

View replies by

Suzette - posted on 05/13/2010

1,086

29

0

To clarify:

"There are great teachers in every school district, regardless of what they're paid. No where did I state that all teachers in the craptastic ones, or in the higher paid ones, were better than the others. It's more common for the ones that are paid more, in the 'better' neighborhoods to have a better attitude toward their students. That's what I said, it doesn't mean that the other teachers don't care at all about their students, just those teachers are few and far between."

These are normally teachers who are fed up with the system itself AND the fact that they have students who refuse to learn, pay attention, or are just trouble making bratts. (At least from what I gathered, from one that I talked to anyway.) There were teachers that I had started out with that had those types of attitudes, and I would bug the living hell out of them, trying to learn, and they'd turn their attitude around toward me... but the class was something different. Granted, I was in class with a lot of students who didn't care to learn. (with the exception of a couple.) So it's not the teachers, I don't blame ALL the teachers at all. It's the fact that they're not paid what they deserve, in a lot of cases, not to mention the students that they have in those districts. It's not right for the students or them. And a lot of those teachers that did try really hard, half the time it didn't get through to the students. They just didn't care to learn. It's more about the funding issue, like Sharon Grey said.

Suzette - posted on 05/13/2010

1,086

29

0

@Sharon,

I DID thank those that were great teachers in the craptastic school district I went to. (And yes, it was craptastic - it's the only "nice" word I can think of for it.)

It wouldn't make me happier if Arizona became it's own country, personally I think the notion is a little silly. (Not just for Arizona, but any State.)

There are great teachers in every school district, regardless of what they're paid. No where did I state that all teachers in the craptastic ones, or in the higher paid ones, were better than the others. It's more common for the ones that are paid more, in the 'better' neighborhoods to have a better attitude toward their students. That's what I said, it doesn't mean that the other teachers don't care at all about their students, just those teachers are few and far between.

"I am so sick of the griping about public education when the voters fail to pass bonds and overrides, consequently causing schools to close down and fire hundreds of teachers and support staff. "

I think it's well known, and I stated, that a lot of people don't know what's going on. Those that do are few and far between and they don't have enough support backing them to help change things, unfortunately.

This didn't start out as the "governor's agenda" either. It started out as Tom Horne's. The governor went ahead and signed it as a bill. If everyone wants to believe it's all about race, fine. Something else to pin on Arizona about race... there's a big surprise. Because they're attempting to actually do something instead of just griping? They're cutting a program that isn't nation wide... as far as I'm aware anyway. If they were cutting Spanish & French speaking electives, they'd be accused of only cutting the French to hide the fact that it's a race issue, all because of the prior bill signed into law. If the prior bill hadn't been signed into law then the race issue would've likely not come up with this. There would be a big fuss, I'm sure, but I don't believe this would be made into such a racial issue. Now it's being made to look as though the Governor is racist because they're trying to make their schools better. (Along with the state better.) I'm sure once everything has settled, as my neighbor and I were discussing today, there are going to be other states that follow suit. They just don't want to do it right now because of all the hype.

Here's an article for everyone, from Boston, MA.
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editor...

It's interesting how this didn't receive very much coverage, yet Arizona is being labeled as racist and such for requiring legal status and residency. While Boston Latin School isn't requiring 'legal status' they are requiring legal residency to prove that a student actually belongs at that school. I think that Ajo is one of the schools now requiring this as well. It's for the same reason that Boston Latin is too.
"Local property taxes pay for local schools. Falsifying an address is tantamount to stealing both the seat from a qualified Bostonian and the thousands of dollars spent annually on educating the child."
So while Arizona is referring to illegal immigrants, it's the same thing. They're stealing from the legal Arizonans (whether they're legal immigrants or American born) and taking seats that belong to those children and we're paying for their education. The difference is that Arizona is being called racist for doing it. What does that make Boston, MA?

I don't think it's a personal vendetta from either of them. I think they're attempting to better things. If it is a personal vendetta then every school in the Nation that is doing things like this (like in Boston) has a vendetta against someone whether they're white, purple, black, hispanic, green, or they have some odd different color hair, etc.

Sharon - posted on 05/13/2010

11,585

12

1315

That has to suck Sharon.



While there are some bad teachers, some positively rotten teachers .. most of this, I think, is a curriculum issue, not a teachers skill issue.



Its a funding issue, not a teachers skill issue.



HHmmm funny story? When my younger son was in the first grade, the year had just ended and we were driving home when he tells me, "My teacher really likes beer. I think she's an alcoholic."



I was floored. I nearly lost control of my truck, I KNEW it had to be a misconception on his part but I couldn't figure out how.



I started questioning him. He describes the can (sounds like Bud Lite to me) tells me how she sneaks one of her cooler bag and hides it in her desk drawer when the kids head out to recess, lunch & afternoon break. Then she tries to bury the can in the garbage before they get back.



I ask him how he knows all this. He and his buddies have snuck back to the classroom to get toys they've forgotten, to take out to the playground and they've seen this through out the year. I was soooo angry. But I still felt this wasn't right.. she seemed so decent and sober!



Finally I ask "Did you see the writing on the can?" He says "yeah it said "PEPSI."



omg.

[deleted account]

The ethnic studies program sounds excellent. I don't understand what people think it will achieve to get rid of them. I've heard that public opinion is starting to change in AZ and support for these proposals is falling now that the facts are being made available.

Suzette - posted on 05/13/2010

1,086

29

0

Here's something about one of those schools in the "poorer" district in Southern Arizona that's really not liking this new bill with removing this Ethnicities class so that other classes can have a chance.



I was in this school, I took AP English and AP History there. The AP History class was awesome, they were able to check out materials from the University of Arizona whenever they needed/wanted to and have them on loan for the students and the teachers. We learned quite a bit about the Hispanic culture, African American culture, Native American culture, and Arizona overall. We also went more in depth into History of America.



The AP English was sad. You would believe that you'd be able to learn so much about Literature in Advanced English right? Wrong. Not in this school district. It was explained to us by our teacher that the funding for that years AP department was used up by the History department and the rest was given to the Athletics department. No, the Athletics department doesn't have an AP department but they needed "extra" funding. This teacher left the school five years later for a Professor job with Notre Dame, besides him there are only 2 good teachers at that school who give a rats behind about the students there.



In that class I didn't get to read excerts from The Odyssey, The Great Gatsby, or anything else you would think an AP English student should be studying. (I didn't read those until College.) We studied mostly shakespeare because that's what was in the library.



And my creative writing class, where you're supposed to be graded upon your writing and learn to write properly if you're not already... that was a joke. Our assignment for the entire year was to have a journal, write at least four sentences. It didn't get graded until the end of the year. There was no midterm. I wrote, throughout the journal, that the entire class sucked, the teacher sucked, I wish I was doing something better with my time, and I wished that the teacher knew what they were doing. I got an A+. I showed it to the Principal. I was told that, "It's his class, he can teach it how he wants." Seriously?



Yeah, kept my GPA right up there, but I was disappointed as hell. I got bored very quickly. I suppose easy classes were good since I was working a full time job at the same time... but being challenged would've been nice. I hope that my husband and I can afford to send our daughter to a private school... or that schools have actually improved by the time she's going to them.



So the rich and the poor are segregated, like Mary said. The problem isn't that parents don't want them improved, half of them don't know what's going on, their kids are skating by and they're happy. Or the ones who have children who are making bad grades they don't bother asking why. The rest just don't care or are busy working 3 and 4 jobs to make due. Then you have the ones who aren't legal and if they make a fuss, they're afraid they'll get caught. And the ones who are making a fuss, there aren't enough doing it to be noticed.



Hopefully the funding issue will be taken care of and it will be allocated correctly. If they have money to make it an elective course after that, I have no problem with that. But they should have one for every ethnicity, not just one.

Suzette - posted on 05/13/2010

1,086

29

0

@Mary Elizabeth,

"The segregation of rich and poor in this country is almost as bad as the segregation of the races...many students in low income areas in chicago graduate from high school unable to read (or at least to read at the right level). My college students from inner city schools have very poor reading, writing, and communication skills. It is SO EASY to tell the difference. I promise that all my students want to do well, and graduate from college (or they wouldn't be there), but they are not starting at the same level. This is not their fault. When you come from a district with no money and too few teachers and classroom resources there is no way for you to be on the same learning level as someone from a "good" neighborhood with a lot of resources."

That was another point I was trying to make. I hope that I made it clearly... I'm not sure, I was pretty tired last night, and somewhat out of it. LOL! Thank you though, I know the problem isn't only in Arizona. My friend (neighbor) is also from Illinois and as we were discussing the problems today, she informed me that they have this problem that you're talking about there too. I knew about California and Arizona, and I think Texas as well. I'm hoping that other States will pick up and start cutting classes that aren't necessary, focusing on reading more, and test scores that aren't just the students and parents to blame but holding the schools accountable as well.

Sharon - posted on 05/13/2010

11,585

12

1315

If they focused on any other culture beside 'african american' I'd be upset about the new law.

(edited to clarify and to add...) this is all that was taught when I was in highschool.



When I was in elementary school we had a "cultures" class. It taught about a variety of cultures from around the world. But not today. African american only. (my highschool years)



My kids are taught about 2 different cultures here at home. They are fairly well immersed in the hispanic culture just because of where we live. They learn about local history via Tombstone.



Our school has never had a "hispanics" ethnicities class. I wouldn't support it if they did. For one, according to my mexican friends, the text books are nearly always wrong or are only partially right. So what is the point?

Laura - posted on 05/13/2010

398

1

51

I think the funding is a different in every state and probably every district. Where I live, alot of the states funds are sent to the I guess the largest district which is also one of the poorer areas. I can't say it's the poorest because there might be poorer ones up north. But it is the largest, and the teachers get paid the most and receive the most luxurious benefits package. But those funds also go to pay for security, school lunches and breakfast because the great majority of kids receive free lunches and for some they only eat at school. It goes to summer time programs because again the school has taken on more functions of home life than they get at home. So for all these extra "services" (there are more) the schools then can't afford the basics. There are some schools in the city that have no library, no computers, no art, no music, no more field trips, and minimal playground equipment and minimal physical fitness classes. Contrast that with where my kids go to school...first of all the teachers that leave the city school system take a pay cut to teach in the suburbs, but we've managed to keep our music and art, phy. ed, guidance (grade school manners, getting along, social awareness stuff) library and expand/update computers. We do this by alot of volunteers filling in the gaps and fundraising and attending school board meetings so that we know what's going on. Every year some teacher is let go, after this year the same thing will happen again. I sorry, my post is bouncing around here but to go back to the funding for the city schools, most of their money just comes from the state and they have to spend it on other programs that aren't necessarily school related but are becoming necessary to keep kids safe, healthy and in school. My kids school gets it's fair share of funding but we are also able to do the fundraising. Our school has the highest funds raised in state through "Box Tops" and I think fourth in the Nation. We've bought playground equipment, smart boards, updated computers, so on with that money. Unfortunately, for the poorer sections of the city it's hard to fundraise because no one has money to even provide the basic school supplies and they have a hard time putting food on the table which means they aren't buying the brand name products where you find the "Box Tops". This kind of stuff drives me nuts because just like Mary said, even if a child works hard in school if they come from an underfunded school district they will start out behind. The kids at the schools with no computers are already behind by what second grade? My second grader is learning how to correctly type on the computer, he's been on one since kindergarten. My fourth grader is learning how use power point and has down several projects. These poor (using both empathetic and financial def.) kids are already behind so early in their school life. I'm glad Arizona has someone who sees the problem and wants to address it at it's roots. Can you clone him and send him up here because I don't know if anyone cares up here and that not only goes for the school board, teachers, admisistators but also the parents. Now that may sound like a big judmental, generalization that should get me in trouble but I don't care. When a school district rates the worst in the Nation and District of Columbia for fourth grade reading/comprehension skills then I think it's time for some outrage and honest statements but guess what, there's not that much outrage here. What's going on??!!

ME - posted on 05/13/2010

2,978

18

193

Tell me about it...don't know how I will find or afford a decent school for my children!

ME - posted on 05/13/2010

2,978

18

193

The grade schools and high schools I subbed at when first moving to IL were all very different. Advanced students got a great education, while mediocre students did not. Grade school kids got 30 min. of exercise 2 x per week, while HS students got at least three years of Phys. Ed unless their advanced curriculum exempted them from phys. ed. There are extra funds for LD students. Our districts here are broke tho, and those services and programs are being cut dramatically. So are sports programs, art and music, etc.

Amie - posted on 05/13/2010

6,596

20

412

Ok I have more questions.

Our systems are so different and I really am glad my kids are in school here. That's not meant to be offensive but public schools aren't something you should have to scout out to make sure they will get a decent education.

Anyway..

So for extra's (like my daughter's LD school) are those covered through public funds? My daughter's school is, her extra reading classes she needs to take, the intensive therapy they give her and a few others in her mainstream school, it's all included. They've stayed on top of the students and keep communication with us (the parents) open so if one of our kids plateau (which our daughter has done) we can look at other options. It's all included, it's all paid for and funded. Even her bus and cab rides to the schools is covered.

What about field trips? I know our field trips are educational and fun for the kids. They are paid for, on the rare occasion they need to raise extra funds but that's not hard for any of the classes to do. (outside of the yearly fundraisers they do I mean.)

What about a healthy lifestyle? Is that being taught? I can't speak for other districts other than my own and a few across the province. Every day, 30 minutes of exercise is integrated somewhere. Every Wednesday I see the Catholic school a block over from my kids school head out for their 'walking wednesday', the entire school, teachers and students. It's quite the thing to see that many kids coming at you. LOL!

I agree with Mary too. It should be part of the core, at least in some way. However leaving it as an elective I can understand. Are there not other ways to save money? I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the funding issues, that's just wrong. I don't think taking this class away will help either. It's one class, it's not an immersion school. If it was an immersion school, where all spanish speaking people were able to attend, where they never had to learn english; Maybe that I could understand more. Cutting one class though, I don't really think is going to do anything but upset a lot of people.

C. - posted on 05/13/2010

4,125

35

242

If nobody is being forced to take it, then what's the big deal?? And if we are going to make Arizona and Texas become their own countries over an ELECTIVE class, that's just pathetic!

ME - posted on 05/13/2010

2,978

18

193

Exactly Lea...

I agree with you completely Dana...The difference is, that I believe Minority contributions to culture and society ought to be concidered part of the core! I believe it is unreasonable to leave out the brilliant works of African American, Hispanic, and Native American authors, artists, inventors, etc. in favor of reading and learning ONLY about the history and work of Western Europeans and White Americans. Unfortunately, when we teach US History or American Literature, those contributions are almost never included. This is a tragedy in my opinion, and programs meant to remedy this are not something that should go to the chopping block!

Dana - posted on 05/13/2010

11,264

35

495

Oh, hell, one of my posts isn't here.

Mary, I wanted to clarify where I was coming from, not that you said I said any different. I don't think illegal immigrants are to blame for the shape our schools are in. I do think that we should be more worried about being able to cover the basics right now than worry about extra programs. Once we get our schools back in order then it would be wonderful to have different electives.

Dana - posted on 05/13/2010

11,264

35

495

Well, there's no debate there...lol Except that it ,should be the same there as it is here. Like I said we're two VERY different countries, with a huge difference in the amount of people.

Amie - posted on 05/13/2010

6,596

20

412

Suzette, No worries. We seem to agree on pretty much all of it though. =)

Dana, I am comparing them because how it is up here, it SHOULD be down there. There is no reason for any of this. The entire system is backwards and those that need help, are not getting it. Like in Mary's post, where she has college students whose basic skills are lacking, there is no good excuse for that. There is always money to be found. For things that are important you can always find the money. People will and can find a way if they have the motivation too. Children's education should always be at the top of the list. They are our future and deserve the best. Until more people fight for them though, until more people educate themselves on how things are running, I'm afraid there will be a lot of students who struggle in school to get by. If they don't have a strong foundation to start on, they will always be behind.

ME - posted on 05/13/2010

2,978

18

193

Part of the problem, also, is that in minority areas the property taxes are lower. This means that there is less money for the schools, and often, a higher population of students. We have huge problems in Illinois because of how the schools are funded, and it isn't due to an immigration problem! The segregation of rich and poor in this country is almost as bad as the segregation of the races...many students in low income areas in chicago graduate from high school unable to read (or at least to read at the right level). My college students from inner city schools have very poor reading, writing, and communication skills. It is SO EASY to tell the difference. I promise that all my students want to do well, and graduate from college (or they wouldn't be there), but they are not starting at the same level. This is not their fault. When you come from a district with no money and too few teachers and classroom resources there is no way for you to be on the same learning level as someone from a "good" neighborhood with a lot of resources.

Dana - posted on 05/13/2010

11,264

35

495

Ha, Amie.....I don't need to take a breath, I'm fine, I wasn't offended. I just thought it was funny because every single question you asked came with a "because we do"...it was quite comical. I was unsure as to whether you were actually asking a question or blowing up the Canadian ego. And I didn't call you any names. lol

You say this:
"We actually have less people paying into our system as well than the states do. So even that's not an argument. Our average for tax payers sits somewhere between 35-40%. I believe it's 37% but can't remember for sure."

To be honest, I'm not arguing with you, I'm not debating you. You are trying to debate me with totally different circumstances. It makes no sense. You live in Canada. It's different, your country is smaller, it doesn't have the same issues as we do.
And yes all people pay property taxes, that own property...that still doesn't account for the many people who don't and have tons of kids going to school. There are a lot of people who own property who aren't going to vote for a raise in property taxes because they don't have kids going to school or they are annoyed by their neighbor, the renter, who's popping kids out like crazy and not giving back into the system.

I don't understand why we're going in circles or how I can help you to understand it any better.

Suzette - posted on 05/13/2010

1,086

29

0

Amie,
The only thing I can say for my posts being long, or repeating myself (sorry lol), is that I'm extremely exhausted toward the end of pregnancy (blah), and pregnancy brain is kicking my butt.

I've been catching myself repeating things in my psych stuff in class too, thankfully before I post it. I didn't realize I did that here, sorry!

I do agree that the entire system, not just in Arizona, needs overhauled. It's not just the illegals either, it's a drain on the system from a lot of people who don't pay taxes. Whether it's because they don't have jobs due to the recession, they don't want to work, or of their legal status. Not to mention other problems in the system. (I think I later mentioned the welfare system, I don't remember right now.) Please, if you catch me repeating myself, just ignore it. lol. It's 99% likely I didn't mean to. lol.

Cutting classes isn't the answer, I also agree with that, but I also believe it should be made fair for all ethnicities too. There's Native American history that's prominent in the state as well, but I do not believe that there's classes geared toward them. If we're going to have for one, we should have for all so that students have more choices. But we don't have the funding for it. Until the system is fixed anyway. And, I believe he's trying to fix the budget issue, at least his speech talked about it.

@Iris,
There's a letter that went out in regard to the new controversial bill that talks about parents, children, and their legal status. I provided the link in one of my posts. They cannot deny a child the right to learn based upon legal status, nor can they ask what their legal status is.
The only thing my mother had to provide for proof of residency was a utility bill or a letter from her landlord. Neither are hard to get if you're not legal. And if they're lying about where they live, most of the schools don't check up on any of that either. Though, since the law came out about illegal immigrants, and funding being cut for the schools with this stuff, I guess some schools have been checking and found out that there are illegals.

http://www.kvoa.com/news/students-enroll...

Amie - posted on 05/12/2010

6,596

20

412

The Education system needs a major overhaul. It really does. This is not the way to do it though. It's taking away a class that many students, who I'm sure aren't all illegals and aren't all Latino's, want to take.



Until priorities are set straight though, a lot of American children are going to be getting a less than stellar education. The entire system is set up backwards. No wonder children struggle and get nowhere, they don't have the support.



Can I ask why your posts are so long? You just repeated yourself. Something I already understood (except for the section 8 thing, ty for that.. that falls into the government property aspect I did mention though) and you would have seen I understood this if you would have read my posts in context. Your schools get federal, state and local funding just like ours. The entire system down there though is backwards. It should not matter your legal status, your neighborhood or test scores. All children enrolled deserve their education. A real superintendent who truly cared would look for a better solution than cutting a class for the entire state. He would look into redistributing the funds to the schools that need them!



I do agree that illegals shouldn't be in the school system but to blame it mostly on them and not looking at the other glaring problems is not the answer.

Suzette - posted on 05/12/2010

1,086

29

0

I need to rephrase something as well, not everyone who is on welfare is sitting on their butts and popping out kids... I know this. My mom had to collect welfare for a time until she got a job. I am saying that it is more prominent with people in these areas with people who ARE like that. (if I hadn't lived in that area to know it, i wouldn't say that either.)

Suzette - posted on 05/12/2010

1,086

29

0

Amie,

As for property taxes, there are a lot of section 8 homes, the government pays the taxes on those homes. The money for those taxes comes from the tax payers. Yet something else that can't go to schools that should. A lot of people in those districts that have the "lower funding" are on section 8 housing. If you go to one of the "nicer" neighborhoods (like the Foothills in Tucson) you're not likely to find section 8 housing. If you do, I'm guessing it'll be in the outskirts, near Flowing Wells district which is slowly turning into one of the bad neighborhoods. It's near Miracle Mile (which is known as stripperville as that's where most of the strip clubs are located and there's prostitutes galore).

The only elementary school I know of that's worth anything are two and one of them is a year long school that my niece attends which is actually in Vail, not in Tucson, and they have the money to print everything out and provide most of the school supplies. Mainly because everyone there pays a school tax, if I remember properly. They're also one of the better neighborhoods too. And they have a waiting list, last I heard.

The other school is a charter school for kids who are advanced and my 11 yr old cousin goes there. Of course she has mass homework, but she has to go to the library to check out books for book reports and such because the library there doesn't have the books she needs. It's in Tucson, in what is considered an "okay" neighborhood. They still have violence and gang activity just not as extreme as other neighborhoods.

"So how is it that there's not enough to raise taxes and fix this? Is education not important enough? We're heavily taxed by some/most Americans standards and we manage fine."
I thought I had explained this, but I suppose I didn't do it clearly enough. We have illegals everywhere, they don't pay state or federal taxes. If you're not paying taxes to the state but your child is going to the school, then how is it that the school is going to have the funding to provide new materials? Legally the school cannot deny to teach your child based on legal status. They cannot ask if you are here legally, it is not within their rights. So they make do with what they're given in funds. If they don't have the funds (from said taxes) then they can't get new materials. They're pretty much stuck in a screwed up situation. The board of directors decides who gets what. Is it stupid and unfair? Yep. Do parents gripe about it? Yes and No. They gripe about the fact that their kids aren't getting the proper education but they don't know WHY they aren't. They gripe about other schools having better things like better 4-H stuff, better athletic equipment, better text materials, better teachers, etc. but they don't know WHY those schools have all that. If they paid attention, they would know why. If they knew who was controlling the funds, they would know why, but they don't take the time.

"It's not that we all get equal funding but the schools that need it, get it. It goes based on what schools need what."

I'm glad that your schools are different, theirs aren't. It's based upon who controls the funds and what they see as "fit" to do with them. It's something that this State Superintendent with the Board of Directors is obviously trying to change, for once! It's nice to see that someone actually, finally, cares.

And it's not just those illegal immigrants that are a drain on the economy either. There are those who aren't working, so they're not paying taxes, that are sitting on their butts collecting welfare and continually popping out kids. They're more prominent in the lower income areas. And, the lower income areas with the schools who have problems with the kids who are into gangs, have lower scores, etc. are the ones who pay for it. If they had better materials, better teachers, etc. then they might actually score better. Instead all that stuff is sent off to the better schools in the better neighborhoods.

Amie - posted on 05/12/2010

6,596

20

412

Dana take a breath and don't take such offense to every little thing. I was asking questions, if you want to read into that. Be my guest but I'm not the one calling names now am I? /:)

We actually have less people paying into our system as well than the states do. So even that's not an argument. Our average for tax payers sits somewhere between 35-40%. I believe it's 37% but can't remember for sure.

Also property taxes, are paid for every property. Whether a person rents or not. Someone owns the property (unless it's government property) and they pay the taxes.

Amie - posted on 05/12/2010

6,596

20

412

I need to rephrase that last bit.

It's not that we all get equal funding but the schools that need it, get it. It goes based on what schools need what. Our oldest attends two schools, one for learning disabilities and her mainstream school. The LD one does get more but it's because they need it. It also doesn't take away from the mainstream schools either. It's distributed "evenly" but based on need. Not on influence or popularity as it seems to be implied in suzette's post. =S

Amie - posted on 05/12/2010

6,596

20

412

Suzette,
That's stupid. Is there nothing that can be done about it? I'd be mad if my kids school didn't get the same funding or attention that the school in the rich areas did. That's not right and it's not fair to the kids.

Amie - posted on 05/12/2010

6,596

20

412

So how is it that there's not enough to raise taxes and fix this? Is education not important enough? We're heavily taxed by some/most Americans standards and we manage fine.

Does it come down to salary? Are we just paid better?
What about cost of living? I know there are some things that are cheaper in the states, actually a lot of things, so people import or cross the border to buy it. I did for my wedding.

As for homework, my kids very rarely get homework. Our son is in kindergarten and never brought any home. Our oldest daughter is in grade 4 and has only brought homework home once. They get their weekly word sheets to study for spelling tests and that's it. Homework isn't a big deal so long as they are learning during school hours. Why aren't they learning during school hours if homework is needed?

Dana - posted on 05/12/2010

11,264

35

495

Yes, you buy your own supplies (all that you've mentioned) but the school system as a whole does not have enough money for students in the lower grades to have their lessons printed on paper. So elementary kids have no homework anymore.

As far as our school systems being run, there's not enough because people don't have the money. If people aren't making enough money to pay taxes then there's not enough tax revenue. If people don't have enough money to live then they're not going vote to raise taxes either.

Suzette - posted on 05/12/2010

1,086

29

0

Amie,
Arizona schools don't provide paper either, unless it's certain things for Arts projects and sometimes the students have to provide their own stuff for that too. It depends on the class and what it is though. At least when I was in school that's the way it was, I couldn't speak for now. The last I knew they provided the text books, and from what they're talking about in the article, they do provide the text books still.

As for the taxes, it's distributed to each school district and the district superintendent has to distribute it to each school. No, I don't believe it's being distributed evenly. It hasn't been for a while now, and that's a problem that's not just in Arizona from what I understand. My husband said they had the same problem in California. There are areas of Arizona that are considered the "upper class" neighborhoods and they have far better educational resources such as textbooks, pay for teachers, etc. than the other neighborhoods such as the one that I went to school in. The school my husband went to in California (or schools I should say) he says they have the same issues. He went to one school that had horrible teachers, they said they didn't make enough to put up with the kids they were given, and then he was transferred when his mother moved, and he had teachers who made more money, cared more about the students, and had better books, libraries, and electives/sports systems in place. If it's supposed to be distributed evenly and the donations from parents are only given to the events (like prom and such), then why is that? It seems that the different district superintendents are playing favoritism between schools.

Amie - posted on 05/12/2010

6,596

20

412

Dana,
I don't rightly know how many different kinds there are. It depends on the area and what's being asked for. If there's enough interest a school will offer the class. If there's not enough interest though, they'll cut the class.

None of our classes run all year long either. At least not here. They are all half a school year long. Then after winter break, the next ones start.

I'm wondering too by a comment you made Dana, about the schools providing paper? Do families there not have to buy school supplies for their own students and extra for in the classroom? That's how it is here. I bought my kids their supplies, a few of the extra things (like Kleenex boxes, few extra pencils, etc.) for the classroom itself and sent them off to school. Our schools don't provide any of that for our students. They don't even supply text books anymore. They have them on loan from the school district for the semester they need them but if (on the very rare occasion) they have homework, it's photocopied and sent home. It saves money because the books aren't getting destroyed as fast, so the board doesn't have to replace them.

After reading a bit too. Federal, state and local taxes go to each school, just like here. So what's the problem? Why is there not enough for schools? Why are they running short? Is it not being distributed evenly?

Suzette - posted on 05/12/2010

1,086

29

0

@Carol,

If people in that area could afford a higher school tax I'm sure they wouldn't have a problem paying for it. The problem is that they can't afford to pay that. Like I said there's a lot of illegal immigrants in that area who send their children to that school, you don't have to prove legal citizenship to have a child enrolled in school and your child doesn't have to prove their legal citizenship to go to school either. The letter that the principals released after that law came out actually stated that they cannot require a student to show legal status and would not deny them education based on their legal status.
http://www.sunnysideud.k12.az.us/news/su...

Since illegal immigrants don't contribute to the taxes as they're paid under the table 9/10 times, then the other citizens are the ones picking up the tab. This is why most schools, especially in that area, aren't well funded. In order to teach U.S. History, World History, etc. properly, they have to cut electives that are unneccessary.

I'm all for opening up electives for all ethnicities in history, but they can't afford that either. I sort of agree that this teaches ethnic chauvinism though, dividing ethnicities further. If they tried cutting only Spanish langauge classes, then I'd think it was racist toward Hispanics. If they were cutting Spanish and French, I couldn't say that. But they're not cutting either of those. He wants this history class cut, and I'm gathering it's due to the fact that the other history/social studies are not being taught properly because of funding. Especially because that's what his speech focused on the most. And because most of the schools in Arizona are primarily Hispanic, they do have a problem with Hispanic gangs. When the problem arises with dividing ethnicities, one being more prominent than the other, then other problems with violence arise.

Unfortunately he can't target just the problem schools with this, he has to go statewide or it's labeled as some type of discrimination I'm sure.

Johnny - posted on 05/12/2010

8,686

26

322

If our education system was in trouble, and students were not learning the basics properly, English, maths, sciences, etc. then I would probably have an issue with this. I want all students to be able to succeed in life, and knowing the ins and outs of the cultural history of one group while not being able to do trigonometry might put kids at a disadvantage.

Where I live, like Amie, we do have classes like this that are offered as electives and all sorts of students regardless of cultural background take. When I was in grade 11 I took First Nations Cultural History as an elective, along with Spanish, French, and Family Development. There were some First Nations kids in the class, but a couple of my friends who were First Nations never cared to take it. And there was a Spanish speaking guy in my Spanish class but he was taking it for easy credit, lol. It was a good course, I learned a whole lot more about the First Nations diverse cultures than one ever would have a chance to in a regular history class and it served me well. I took it because my career plan was to become a social worker and where I live, First Nations are disproportionately involved in the child welfare system. It was useful to me for that too.

But I never felt that those core studies were affected by taking this class, nor was school funding diverted. I mean, perhaps the metal working shop got new tools less often, I don't know, but it did not ruin the state of our education system to offer this kind of class. If we didn't have enough textbooks or paper, I'd probably feel differently about it. But I'd personally rather pay more taxes than have cuts to education though.

Dana - posted on 05/12/2010

11,264

35

495

That's exactly my problem with it Suzette. Our school systems are taxed as it is. Of course if they had more money I would love to have a class that focused on different cultures. As of right now schools are having a hard enough time supplying paper for schools or text books for World History classes, let alone a class for one culture.

Suzette - posted on 05/12/2010

1,086

29

0

The budgets for schools is extremely limited. TUSD and SUSD is no exception. They are located in Southern Arizona in Tucson, mainly in South Tucson, which is actually considered it's own little "city" by police officers. It's considered extremely dangerous due to the gang activity there. They have 2 very large high schools there as well as charter schools, elementary, and middle schools.

The police response time is ridiculous in that area as they figure whatever they're responding to is going to turn into a death anyway. At least the last time I knew that was the way it was. The illegal immigrants outnumbered the legal citizens there, the last time I was aware. I grew up in that neighborhood until I was 15 and my parents were able to move to a better neighborhood.

The funding that they receive for schools is laughable. The fact that we have a superintendent (for the state) that is actually willing to put a stop to how schools spend the money outrageously, is wonderful. If they could afford it, i would be all for them bringing in studies for every ethnic group. The harsh reality is that they can't afford that unless the teachers want to do it themselves. They can use the University resources (which are on loan to schools) to take a couple of weeks from the social studies classes and teach about each ethnic group though. That is more than understandable. But to have a class for only one is not right in my opinion. Especially when students aren't being taught about things like the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, etc.

Suzette - posted on 05/12/2010

1,086

29

0

I was in high school when this was brought in. Also, it's not the Governor who initiated the bill, it was the State Superintindent of the Department of Education, Tom Horne. He's been trying for the past 2 years to get rid of this program. It promotes what he calls, "ethnic chauvinism."

https://www.azed.gov/pio/Press-Releases/...

This is a copy of a letter released June 12, 2009 from the Superintendent himself. A State Representative, Steve Montenegro, who is a Latino legislator (the release had to put that in there), supported the bill to the Governor.

There's also a Word document found, in the piles of links that I found, from a speech that Tom Horne made just one year after he was elected into office. (2004)
In that speech he stated the following:
"Change always produces insecurity, and opposition." (If that isn't the truth! lol... but not the point.)

-English Immersion - "The first promise related to students who came to school not speaking English. I said that they must learn English as quickly as possible."
He's not trying to outlaw English, but he wanst them speaking it fluently and quickly. This is something I have to admire, we haven't had a lot of teachers, superintendents, etc. that even care in Arizona. The fact that he's demanding it from schools is admirable.
"Previously, because of waiver abuse, students who were not proficient in English were allowed to languish in bi-lingual classes year after year, without ever becoming truly proficient in English. In one case, we had to threaten to withhold funds from a school district that had improperly placed 500 students in bi-lingual programs." (This is how bad Arizona is, for those that aren't aware.)

- "Second, on AIMS, I promised that for the current deadline, for this year’s sophomores, any student who received a diploma would have passed a reasonable test, so we’d know that students would have the reasonable skills and knowledge one expects from a high school graduate. When I arrived into the department, there was a section called “AIMS Ed”, in which they were developing a system whereby a student who could not pass the test could still graduate if the student did a class project. I eliminated that section. It is history. We will no longer graduate students who can not read their own diplomas."
FINALLY!!! They actually have to LEARN to graduate now. It's about time we have someone who gives a damn in Arizona!

- "I promised to hold accountable not only the students for the AIMS test, but also to hold the schools accountable, and to have a fair and accurate accountability system. I specifically promised two changes to make the accountability system more fair. First, we need to measure the amount of progress students make in school, not just the absolute level of achievement. This is especially needed to be fair to schools who do an excellent job in poor neighborhoods. The students may have started behind, but the reality of the school is how much academic progress they made."
The schools have to answer for their problems too... it's about time. Before it was just the students and parents being blamed.

- "I promised that we would ensure classroom discipline. We began a discipline initiative to help bring the message to our schools that proper discipline is a necessary pre-condition to academic achievement. The discipline section on our web site brings numerous resources to schools to help with their discipline programs. Our web site is ade.az.gov."
Finally, problem students are not to be returned to classrooms unless they've resolved their issues. When I was in school it didn't matter, they got returned after suspensions even if they didn't fix the issues.

- "I spoke about a different kind of discipline, budget discipline. I worked in partnership with the Governor, and with school districts superintendents, in a voluntary program to move money from the district office to the classroom, where the taxpayers expect it to be spent: on better teacher compensation and smaller class size. The school superintendents have worked hard to make this a successful joint program."
The schools have to account for their budgets, maybe now the students will have better educational material.

- "I promised to reform social studies and history standards. Many people were shocked to learn that when I took office, the history standards were that high school students did not learn about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Revolutionary War, or the ideas on which this country is founded. The last time they learned about those things was in the seventh grade, when they were thirteen years old. Similarly, the last time students in world history learned the Greco-Roman basis for western civilization was in the sixth grade, when they were twelve years old. In July, the State Board adopted my recommendation, and from now on our high school students will learn about our War of Independence, Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the ideas on which this country is founded, and the Greco-Roman basis for western civilization."
Yeah, but they were learning about Latino studies instead? How is that right???

-"I promised to encourage content-rich reading. As students learn reading, they should be reading about social studies, science, and literature, and not just empty stories."
We didn't have much as far as literature when I attended school. Even in AP English. It was VERY sucky! IF I wanted REAL literature, I had to go to the Public Library or the University Library.

They're also working on character education as well.

You can try finding the article here, if it doesn't appear, click refresh. https://www.azed.gov/administration/supe...
Hopefully it'll come up.

Dana - posted on 05/12/2010

11,264

35

495

Amie, how many different classes are taught and about what cultures. Are they as long as the whole school year, just like a regular class?



I'd also like to add that it's fine you have classes that teach about one culture, I never said it wasn't fine....but, you live in Canada, not the United States. I'm not sure how your schools are doing there but ours are not even keeping their heads above water.

Rosie - posted on 05/12/2010

8,657

30

321

i'm all about keeping everything unified as one instead of having seperate classes for seperate races because i do believe it just causes resentment, and is completely unnecessary. i do believe we need more of an emphasis on all sort of history in classes and have more information about other cultures, and races histories offered in our own history classes. i don't feel there is enough emphasis on that part of our history taught to us.



however, if it is not a required course, and not something that only latinos are made to take, and if people of other races are welcome to take it, then i don't see it as too completely harmful. just something that's unnecessary if we were to revamp the way our history is taught.

Amie - posted on 05/12/2010

6,596

20

412

We have classes that teach about one culture only. There's nothing wrong with it. Before anyone says anything too, No it's not just French classes either.



I don't understand this either. Why is it so bad to learn about another culture? /:) It's an elective class, no one's forced to take it. Well I'm assuming it's elective because it is here.

Dana - posted on 05/12/2010

11,264

35

495

Seriously though....our schools are in enough trouble. Now we have a separate class that teaches about one culture only.

LaCi - posted on 05/12/2010

3,361

3

171

We should just allow arizona to become it's own country. Texas also.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms