Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 14, 2010 / 1 Sivan, 5770

American History, Not Ethnic Studies

By Linda Chavez



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Most ethnic studies programs in public schools are at best a waste of taxpayer money, and at worst racially and ethnically divisive indoctrination. But the goal shouldn't be just getting rid of these programs, which a controversial new bill passed by the Arizona legislature attempts to do, but ensuring that public schools give all students a firm grounding in American history, culture, and government.

The impetus for the Arizona bill is a program used in the Tucson Unified School District that provides ethnic studies courses for Hispanics, blacks, Asians, and Native Americans. Critics of the program claim that the courses, especially those aimed at Mexican Americans, have become forums for political propaganda. And the school district's own website provides evidence the critics are right.

Among the goals listed for the Mexican American Studies program are the following: "Advocating for and providing curriculum that is centered within the pursuit of social justice. ... Working towards the invoking of a critical consciousness within each and every student. ... Providing and promoting teacher education that is centered within Critical Pedagogy, Latino Critical Race Pedagogy, and Authentic Caring."

The idea of the public schools promoting "race pedagogy" of any sort should send shivers down the spine — and is there such a thing as "inauthentic" caring, whose antidote this program pretends to be?

Programs like Tucson's have been around since the 1960s, starting first in colleges and universities and, later, adopted in public school curricula. Afrocentric education was all the rage in the 1990s in public schools from Portland, Ore., to Prince George's County, Maryland. The study guides used in those programs were not just racially incendiary but downright kooky, claiming, for example, that absence of melanin in the skin made whites more likely to become sexual deviants.

Tucson's program, it appears, follows a similar pattern of turning facts on their head. According to a series in the Arizona Republic last year, videos posted online showed Tucson Chicano Studies classrooms decorated with "heroes" such as Fidel Castro, the communist dictator who ruled for nearly 50 years and single-handedly turned Cuba into one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere; Ernesto "Che" Guevara, an Argentine revolutionary who served in Castro's regime, ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent Cubans and personally executing more than 180 men; and Pancho Villa, a common criminal whose escapades were more about enriching himself than freeing Mexico from one of its perennial dictators, Porfirio Diaz. Venerating this rogues' gallery of despots certainly won't help Mexican-American students understand anything about the role of Mexican-Americans in U.S. history, which is how such programs are often sold to an unsuspecting public.

For decades, the teaching of American history has become a spoils system in the name of identity politics, divvying up slots in the historical pantheon to various groups: blacks, Latinos, women, gays. We've elevated minor characters to major roles in American history if they fit the right ethnic or gender profile and dropped leading figures of the American founding, the Civil War, and modern history. In the process, we've forgotten about teaching what it means to be an American — what is unique and transformative in the American Experiment.

Now, more than ever, we need to reinvigorate the teaching of American history — the nation's ideals, principles, its political and legal system — and not just for the sake of the millions of newcomers to our country. Indeed, U.S.-born children of all racial and ethnic groups receive precious little education in American history in our schools, which undermines their ability to understand and defend democratic principles.

The problem is not just getting rid of divisive ethnic studies programs; it's figuring out what replaces them. Legislatures around the country should put in place rigorous standards that ensure that all students will study American history, government, and culture throughout their public school education. We've created an intellectual vacuum in our public schools that gets filled with all sorts of nonsense. It's time we fill it with something worthwhile.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

Linda Chavez Archives


© 2006, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles