Another State Lawmaker Thinks Teachers Should Be Banned From Discussing 'Controversial' Issues

from the 'party-of-free-speech'-strikes-again dept

Having gotten it into his head that teachers are “indoctrinating” the mushy minds of school students, an Arizona lawmaker has introduced a bill almost certainly headed for a Constitutional challenge.

State Rep. Mark Finchem wants to ban public and charter school teachers from spreading “controversial” political, racial and religious messages in their classrooms.

The Oro Valley Republican introduced House Bill 2002 in the Legislature last week. If it passes, teachers could face consequences as severe as losing their jobs for engaging in any “political, ideological or religious” advocacy or discussion with their students.

The bill [PDF] introduces, among other things, a requirement for teachers to attend three hours of annual “ethics training” and adopt a strict “ethics code” that prevents them from talking about a long list of things Rep. Finchem finds “controversial.” The list begins with blocking teachers from advocating for political parties, candidates, and legislation, which already makes part of the bill redundant.

State law already bars public and charter school employees from using school resources, including personnel, to influence the outcome of an election.

But that’s only part of the list of forbidden subjects. The bill also forbids teachers from:

Discussing any litigation making its way through the nation’s courts.

Introducing “controversial issues” not related to the course being taught

Endorsing any activity that “hampers or impedes lawful access of military recruiters to the campus”

Endorsing or engaging in any activity that “hampers or impedes the actions” of law enforcement

“Singling out” one racial group as “being responsible” for the suffering of another race

It also introduces some weird form of “Fairness Doctrine” by demanding teachers provide resources supporting both sides of any controversial subject that somehow makes it way past Rep. Finchem’s speech barrier. These multiple incursions on the First Amendment are followed by dubious “findings” Finchem wants to have codified as legislative facts.

A. The legislature finds and declares that:

1. The purpose of public education in Arizona is to produce knowledgeable and competent adults who are able to participate as informed citizens in the democratic process of selecting representation in our constitutional republic.

2. Education in a democracy is best served by teaching students how to think, not telling them what to think. Our country is divided over many issues affecting its citizens. It has been established through surveys that a majority of K-12 teachers discuss controversial issues in their classrooms.

3. It has been established that some teacher training institutions, teacher licensing agencies, state education departments and professional teacher organizations have condoned and even encouraged this behavior under the guise of “teaching for social justice” and other sectarian doctrines. Time spent on political or ideological indoctrination takes time away from instruction in the academic subjects taught by public educational institutions, including the foundational subjects of mathematics, science, English, history and civics, and prevents students from receiving the best possible public education as funded by the taxpayers of this state.

4. Parents and taxpayers have a right to expect that taxpayer resources will be spent on education, not political or ideological indoctrination.

Perhaps Mark Finchem will allow these many surveys supporting his indoctrination theory to be read into the state record along with the rest of his bullshit bill. Finchem claims a “stunning number” of calls from concerned parents has prompted this action, rather than the organized #RedForEd educator walkout that accompanied educators’ demands for increased funding.

There’s no chance this bill survives a Constitutional challenge if it somehow becomes law. Restrictions on speech — even that of government employees — demands a narrow crafting. Targeting speech with legislation requires a sniper’s mentality. Finchem is carrying a shotgun loaded with birdshot and hoping it’s enough to prevent speech he doesn’t like from being spoken in the state’s classrooms.

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Comments on “Another State Lawmaker Thinks Teachers Should Be Banned From Discussing 'Controversial' Issues”

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120 Comments
Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Restrictions on speech — even that of government employees — demands a narrow crafting. Targeting speech with legislation requires a sniper’s mentality. Finchem is carrying a shotgun loaded with birdshot and hoping it’s enough to prevent speech he doesn’t like from being spoken in the state’s classrooms.

I dunno. I find point 4, which is the keystone of the whole thing, eminently reasonable:

Parents and taxpayers have a right to expect that taxpayer resources will be spent on education, not political or ideological indoctrination.

Do you feel it’s appropriate to have your tax dollars spent on political or ideological indoctrination of children?

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re:

_Do you feel it’s appropriate to have your tax dollars spent on political or ideological indoctrination of children?_

Yes very reasonable. Except that teaching about history and civics (part of what they are supposed to be doing per the article) requires talking about all those banned subjects.

Critical thought is one of the most important things to teach in school. Dogmatic recitation of facts means accepting whatever “facts” you have been told. Like those fact about an ark full of animals.

Christenson says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Are you sure we can effectively define this bad thing, “indoctrination”, and agree on its meaning??? Especially when this idiot educator thinks oh, teaching about who put who in cages or who lynched who is indoctrination…

I claim that we all take teaching reading as dogma. Well reasoned, agreed dogma, but dogma.

I liked points 1,2, and 4 in the findings. They sound good!

Matthew Cline (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I think this is what is being referenced:

"Singling out" one racial group as "being responsible" for the suffering of another race

I’m guessing Gary had in mind teaching about things like the Holocaust. It might be that the writers of the bill merely mean that collective guilt should not be assigned, like when history classes teach about the Holocaust that the teacher shouldn’t claim that all Germans were guilty, but if so they should have worded it more clearly.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

When I saw this, what came to my mind is the idea currently going around that all white people in America today share the blame for slavery, Jim Crow laws, and other historical evils perpetrated against black people and other minorities.

That’s yet another thing that I don’t want being taught in schools, especially given that some of my ancestors were persecuted and suffered horribly at the hands of contemporary racists for fighting against these evils back when they were in fashion!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Ever hang out on social justice sites? Or college campuses for that matter? If you haven’t heard this notion before, you’re more fortunate than many. Unfortunately, it’s real and a scary number of people are taking it seriously. Sticking your head in the sand doesn’t change that, d00d.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

So that’s three posts, now, that gesture vaguely to this claim as being some kind of serious problem, and yet not a one of them has cited a single concrete source, just some half-assed gesturing toward unspecified websites and colleges.

The only time just saying "COLLEGE" works is if you’re John Belushi’s T-shirt in Animal House.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Hunter College will offer students an “Abolition of Whiteness” course this fall to discuss how “white supremacy and violence” influence individual identity.

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=9231

At Columbia University, a professor disciplined an entire class for using “racially microaggressive” language in a course-related online discussion board. Students were given extra reading assignments focused on “white identity” and “microaggressions” as a punishment.

The professor, who described the incident in an academic journal article, reported the microaggressions to Columbia administration and during the next class period, racially segregated the students into “affinity groups.” One group was comprised of white students and another group was comprised of “People of the Global Majority.”

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=10350

Students at Maryland’s Salisbury University are required to take a course called “Diversity and the Self” in order to obtain an elementary education major.

This year, the course employed the use of a “Pyramid of White Supremacy,” which ranked different actions that, in theory, allow white supremacy to exist. The actions were placed in a hierarchy, with “indifference” on the bottom, all the way up to “genocide” at the top.

“In a pyramid, every brick depends upon the one below it for support,” a caption explained. “If the bricks at the bottom are removed, the whole structure comes tumbling down.”

Actions such as “remaining apolitical,” saying things like “politics doesn’t affect me,” and “avoiding confrontation with racist family members” were classified as indifference. The next level was titled “minimization,” and included things like speaking over people of color, or believing in a post-racial society.

Step by step, the pyramid increased in severity, from “veiled racism” such as the “bootstrap theory” of lifting oneself up by one’s own bootstraps, to “discrimination” such as “stop and frisk,” to “calls for violence” such as cross burning, until the analogy comes to a close with the “genocide” section.

Salisbury students were quizzed on the pyramid, which implied that phrases such as “Why can’t we all just get along?” were complicit in supporting the mass murder of individuals based on race.

“This class was extremely difficult to get through if you did not think like a liberal. Instead of teaching diversity, this class taught us that being white was a bad thing,” one student told Campus Reform. “We were told that we were only privileged because we are white and basically we did not actually work for what we have.”

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=10398

The University of Iowa is holding workshops entitled “Understanding Your Whiteness to Become Better Allies,” on Nov. 30 and again in February.

The school’s Chief Diversity Office, along with “several campus allies,” are sponsoring the event. These workshops are aimed at “people who want to learn about and discuss the inherent privileges that come with being white.”

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=11558

A California university offers courses focused on “whiteness” and “white privilege” for the 2018-2019 school year.

California State University-San Marcos is offering courses in communications and sociology titled COMM 454 “The Communication of Whiteness” and SOC 463 “Seminar in White Privilege,” respectively.

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=11469

The University of Denver will host and sponsor the annual “White Privilege Symposium,” (WPS) which is set up to “examine patterns, cultures, and systems that contribute to identity, power, and privilege,” on Friday and Saturday.

The symposium will feature breakout sessions such as “Anti-Racist Allyship: Avoiding The Pitfalls,” “Colleagial Check-In for POC: Needing Connection While Managing Whiteness,” “Colored White: A Discussion On White Identity,” “White Accountability,” and more, according to the symposium website.

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=11467

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Ah, I see that we’ve moved on from "provide no examples" to "provide a bunch of examples that don’t actually support the claim."

Mason referred, specifically, to "the idea currently going around that all white people in America today share the blame for slavery, Jim Crow laws, and other historical evils perpetrated against black people and other minorities."

None of your links makes that claim. Not one.

The closest you can come is references to white privilege — which, as Matthew Cline noted yesterday,

that white people as a group indirectly benefit from those past evils, regardless of whether or not they want to. That’s different than being responsible for those past evils.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

When I saw this, what came to my mind is the idea currently going around that all white people in America today share the blame for slavery, Jim Crow laws, and other historical evils perpetrated against black people and other minorities.

Does each individual White American share the blame for those evils? No. Do White Americans as a sociopolitical demographic share the blame for those evils? Abso-fuckin’-lutely.

some of my ancestors were persecuted and suffered horribly at the hands of contemporary racists for fighting against these evils back when they were in fashion!

We can teach the truth that individual White people fought (and still fight) against those evils while also teaching the truth that White people as a broad group were (and largely still are) responsible for those evils.

Matthew Cline (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

When I saw this, what came to my mind is the idea currently going around that all white people in America today share the blame for slavery, Jim Crow laws, and other historical evils perpetrated against black people and other minorities.

So far as I can tell, the "idea currently going around" is that white people as a group indirectly benefit from those past evils, regardless of whether or not they want to. That’s different than being responsible for those past evils.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“the idea currently going around that all white people in America today share the blame for slavery, Jim Crow laws, and other historical evils perpetrated against black people and other minorities.”

I thought that “idea” was originated within some conservative group in an ill advised attempt to further discredit the claims of discrimination from those being discriminated against. But I could be wrong.

Such discrimination has not really been stopped, its severity slightly decreased but it is still pervasive. And yet some like to proclaim that racism has been conquered – lol, sure it has.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

It might be that the writers of the bill merely mean that collective guilt should not be assigned, like when history classes teach about the Holocaust that the teacher shouldn’t claim that all Germans were guilty

Nope. That language is specifically targeting ethnic studies classes. See Arizona law outlawing Mexican-American studies ruled unconstitutional.

A U.S. District Court judge on Tuesday ruled that an Arizona law passed to stop Mexican-American studies classes in Tucson schools was enacted for racial and political reasons and is therefore unconstitutional.

The case stems from a long-ranging battle that started in 2010 when then-state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne objected to statements made by a speaker in a Tucson classroom. The speaker said that Latinos dislike Republicans.

This is a broadly true statement. From Pew Research Center in 2010:

In a year when support for Democratic candidates has eroded, the party’s standing among one key voting group—Latinos—appears as strong as ever. Two-thirds (65%) of Latino registered voters say they plan to support the Democratic candidate in their local congressional district, while just 22% support the Republican candidate, according to a nationwide survey of Latinos. If this pro-Democratic margin holds up on Election Day next month, it would be about as wide as in 2008, when Latinos supported Barack Obama for president over John McCain by 67% to 31% (Lopez, 2008).

Tucson Republicans are angry that ethnic studies classes exist, and have been for years. They are seeking a way to ban them. Their previous ban was, rightly, thrown out as unconstitutional, so they’re trying to find a new way to ban them.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I don’t see any mention of religion in his post. While the word "dogmatic" derives from religious dogma, it is commonly used to describe any belief which is taken on faith rather than questioned. See definition #3 at dictionary.com:

prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group:
the difficulty of resisting political dogma.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Good question. Guess I missed the last sentence of his post.

That said? Questioning the literal truth of Genesis isn’t bigotry; it’s common sense. Plenty of Christians, and dare I say the vast majority of Jews, do not believe that the human race is descended from three middle-eastern brothers who shared a boat with gila monsters and kangaroos.

Indeed, the story of the Ark is exactly the sort of thing public schools shouldn’t be allowed to teach, outside a handful of narrowly-defined contexts (a religious studies elective, perhaps, or a humanities course comparing and contrasting different mythologies, ie the flood in Genesis versus the one in the Epic of Gilgamesh).

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The implication that anyone who holds specific religious beliefs is a dogmatic
> person incapable of critical thinking is absolutely bigotry.

There’s also the inherent bigotry where those who would say the above usually only say it about Christians. They’d never in a million years say that about a Muslim because that would ‘islamophobic’ or something.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

You might want to get that cough looked at. It’s making you look stupid.

Every time a Techdirt commenter throws out the word “whataboutism”, an irony angel gets its wings.

“Whataboutism” is a meaningless term that’s used to distract when a logical fallacy or hypocrisy is of an argument is pointed out.

Just last week I saw this nonsense in full flower in a TV interview:

INTERVIEWER: The U.S. won’t deal with your country because of its human rights abuses.

SUBJECT: That’s not logically consistent since the U.S. deals with Saudi Arabia and Israel in spite of their human rights abuses.

INTERVIEWER: Whataboutism!

“Whataboutism” is a necessary tool used to demonstrate the “hypocricyism” and “double standardism” that are the hallmarks of liberalism and progressivism.

Tucson says:

Re: Re: Re: Politicians are really Smart

well, the classic libertarian view is that ‘Government’ should not be operating any schools at all … and should not interfere in citizen education at all.

When schools are run/regulated by the government and its politicians (as ALL American schools now are), the details of ninth-grade biology classes, the propriety of patriotic rituals, and every other educational issue — ranging from how to teach math and reading to the contents of vending machines—becomes a political issue.
Even when the arguments don’t end up in court, they generate acrimony and resentment that could be avoided if education were entirely a private matter”.

There is NO objective definition of “EDUCATION” — the details are always arbitrary and often contoversial.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Politicians are really Smart

Local and State are the ones that should be in Education. NOT the Federal Government which is in many, many things it shouldn’t be in. The Federal Education department was created because of poor grades in schools. Since being created, nothing has changed. Grades are just as bad as ever. Except now we have another huge taxpayer-funded B.S.

These days it seems schools want to teach a lot of leftest ideas. Instead of teaching what kids need to really learn in life. Most schools these days lean way left. The teachers spend more hours a day with the kids than the parents getting brainwashed. Now we have a lot of snowflakes. Some of these people with TDS really need to be in a mental ward.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

… just check the compulsory school attendance and truancy laws anywhere in the U.S. These are fundamentally leftist/collectivist precepts — hammered in to all students as unquestionable basics of civilized human society. That political indoctrination is highly effective.

The school is Pledge of Allegiance is absolutely a leftist/collectivist indoctrination mechanism.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

The school is Pledge of Allegiance is absolutely a leftist/collectivist indoctrination mechanism.

And a right wing indoctrination to ensure allegiance to the leader. There is no difference between the extreme left and right in their desire for a unquestioning population to do the leaders bidding, and provide warm bodies for their wars.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Politicians are really Smart

“These days it seems schools want to teach a lot of leftest ideas.”
– It may seem this way to you because reality has a leftward lean and school is for learning and preparation for life in the real world.

“Local and State are the ones that should be in Education.”
– They are. Ever attend your local school board meeting? Yeah, prob not huh.

I’m curious … what are some examples of things you think are being taught in public school that is incorrect, as in wrong or a lie. In addition, what do you think is left? What was right is now left and what was right is now extremist.

Do you think we should be teaching extremist things in public schools?

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Do you feel it’s appropriate to have your tax dollars spent on political or ideological indoctrination of children?

  1. How do you define "political or ideological indoctrination of children"?
  2. Do you believe Rep. Finchem’s definition of that phrase matches yours?
  3. Do you believe Arizona courts’ interpretation of that phrase will match yours?
  4. If you answered "yes" to (2) or (3), why do you believe that?
Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

  1. In other words, you can’t.
  2. It fucking-well does if Rep. Finchem’s definition of "political or ideological indoctrination of children" means "teaching climate change or evolution".
  3. Oh sure, lots of legal opinions just say "The phrase looks pretty self-explanatory to me." Courts are well-known for handwaving definitions of terms instead of explicitly defining them in minute detail.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Do you feel it’s appropriate to have your tax dollars spent on political or ideological indoctrination of children?

Define what’s being indoctrinated and you’ll get as many answers to that question as there are words in the dictionary.

But that’s not the point of your comment. The point of your comment is fear. Specifically you are hoping someone will fill in that blank you’ve carefully left in that question with their own Big Bad and come out in support of your censorship. Which will never take into account the Big Bad in their head, but will yours.

Nice Try.

It is appropriate to have our tax dollars spent on political and ideological indoctrination of children. That’s what defines our culture. Further, it’s part of how we define our society’s expectations. Someone has to teach that. Otherwise your culture and ideology withers and dies in the sands of time.

The question isn’t whether it’s appropriate or not, the question, in US society at least, is are the students free to make their own choice? Just because a teacher or some government employee disagrees with official policy or policy making, and expresses that disagreement in front of a student, or anyone for that matter, does not mean they are indoctrinating anyone. The individual can disagree with their disagreement. Which is what I assume the legislator in the article would want the student to do for certain things, and would even applaud them for doing so. While at the same time if the student were to condom the police shooting an unarmed naked man, said legislator would probably be demanding their silence.

That’s the whole reason the legislation in the article exists. So the government can control the message being given to the students. They want to make sure only the "#approvedhashtags" are spoken of and silence everything else.

Like all other political censorship attempts, If the only way your argument can stand on it’s own is in a complete vacuum of other ideas, your argument fails by default and will be replaced by better arguments. Regardless as to how much censorship you engage in.

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Do you feel it’s appropriate to have your tax dollars spent on political or ideological indoctrination of children?

Absolutely not. I think the teachers should immediately stop indoctrinating our kids with anti-abortionist, creationist, white supremacist, anti-environmentalist, anti globalist, religious and states rightist political BS.

So you guys put the framework in place to let us ban what we don’t like. So that when my party gets into power, we won’t have to get yelled at for putting the framework in place ourselves, we can just use it…and blame your party for creating it.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have to agree with this lawmaker. Educators don’t have any business preaching politics or religion in the classroom. Sure, their constitutional rights should be respected. However, once they are clocked in and working as educators in their classrooms, politics and religion should not be discussed there unless it’s in a damned history or civics classroom.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

except that this law does things like making saying "what that police officer did was wrong" illegal.
That should sound crazy to most people (hint: because it is).

And like it or not religion and politics are very important to understand history (and even in some of the harder sciences… like for example why heliocentricsm took to long to gain populatirity… again).

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Your example is true, but not for the reasons most people generally think. The Galileo story that "everybody knows" is more myth than reality. If you’re interested in the history of heliocentrism, and how politics and religion really contributed, I’d strongly suggest reading The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown. (Silly name notwithstanding, it’s a very thorough and worthwhile historical treatment of the events involved. And you can read the whole thing for free at that link.)

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Educators don’t have any business preaching politics or religion in the classroom.

Preaching? No. Discussing from as objective a viewpoint as possible (e.g., discussing religion as a sociopolitical concept instead of preaching from the Bible)? Hell yes, they should have every right to do that. I do not want teachers telling kids who to vote for; I want teachers telling kids how to figure out who they want to vote for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Educators don’t have any business preaching politics or religion in the classroom”

Not sure how one might teach classes about politics and religions. Are you suggesting those topics no longer be taught? I think these are usually advanced placement type courses, these are the students that want to learn and you are telling them that ignorance is bliss?

Toom1275 (profile) says:

It’s interesting to see how successful insidious language like this is.

At a superficial glance, platitudes like “keep politics out of the classroom” “discuss both sides of the issue” “We just want to stop murder” sound reasonable, but those who look deeper then see the ugly hearts of bigotry, ignorance, and malice behind them.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s worse than that. They are thinking R’s and D’s, and are limited to what they think about anything by what ‘their’ party tells them to think. The real problem is that there are more than two sides to (probably almost) every issue. Getting recognition of more than two sides is a steep hill to climb when one has been conditioned to think in binary terms alone.

Then, getting the various sides positions accurately described is another headache and there may be factions that embrace portions of some sides but not others and some factions that embrace none of anyone else’s positions.

Even getting to the point of explaining what group a representative might represent presents a problem as ‘left of center’ is different than ‘progressive’ and those that are ‘moderately left of center’ are in absolute disagreement with anyone who is ‘marginally left of center’…so to speak (and the same goes for the ‘right’ and ‘conservative’ and any other adjective or name or indicator one might want to propose).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Climate change may be controversial… outside of an Earth Sciences class where they teach settled science, regardless of religious nutters opinions. So to answer your question. No they aren’t responcible for “teaching both sides.” Especially if one side of the “controversy” is plum ignorant of the facts. See also slavery as the reason for the civil war, evolutionarily biology, basic facts about human embryonic development, the facts figures and reasons that lead to humans practicing activities that could lead to developing embryos, and any other inconvenient facts these fundies don’t like.

ryuugami says:

The bill also forbids teachers from:

Endorsing any activity that "hampers or impedes lawful access of military recruiters to the campus"

Endorsing or engaging in any activity that "hampers or impedes the actions" of law enforcement

"Singling out" one racial group as "being responsible" for the suffering of another race

Good news, kids! History is cancelled. Forever.

Anonymous Coward says:

Soooo math would be right out (encryption is pure math, good luck with saying it doesn’t hamper or impede law enforcement).

Also I guess this means teaching about the 5th amendment is right out (again, same reason).

We probably (again assuming the bill passed) should just throw out teaching any critical thinking skills.

And that’s just with one clause of the proposed bill. sigh

Glad I dont live in Arizona (now I just have to home my own state doesn’t try to one up them).

Anonymous Coward says:

Its all just backwards

So, the mission is:

2. Education in a democracy is best served by teaching students how to think, not telling them what to think. Our country is divided over many issues affecting its citizens. It has been established through surveys that a majority of K-12 teachers discuss controversial issues in their classrooms.

And then they want to ban “controversial issues”. WTF! ??? Those are EXACTLY THE TOPICS you want to help children learn *how* to think not *what* to think.

You hand out points for how well they argue a specific position, not for the position they choose.

So, this tells you, immediately, that they are not trying to achieve that which they claim.

* sigh *

Professor Ronny says:

Introducing "controversial issues" not related to the course being taught

I’m a teacher and I don’t have any issue with this one. In fact, I would go further and be fine with…

Introducing any issue not related to the course being taught

I happen to teach Operations Management. (Basically, how to run a factory.) It would make no sense at all for me to introduce politics (at least politics unrelated to outsourcing) or race relations or slavery or photograph in my courses.

ShadowNinja (profile) says:

So many obvious problems with all of these things:

Discussing any litigation making its way through the nation’s courts.

So no discussing current events then huh.

Introducing "controversial issues" not related to the course being taught

Again a ‘no current events’ rule, but this one seems especially designed to target stuff like police officers misbehaving and murdering unarmed black people, because it offends the author that people want police officers held accountable for murder.

Endorsing any activity that "hampers or impedes lawful access of military recruiters to the campus"

So no bad mouthing the military in other words when discussing history, because that’s literally the only way a teacher could hinder it in the class room.

Endorsing or engaging in any activity that "hampers or impedes the actions" of law enforcement

Again a no bad mouthing the police when they do something wrong and deserve to be called out on it.

"Singling out" one racial group as "being responsible" for the suffering of another race

Censoring of history.

nothing (profile) says:

The purpose of education is indoctrination. Not indoctrination.

Sadly, the bill says:

  1. The purpose of public education in Arizona is to produce knowledgeable and competent adults who are able to participate as informed citizens in the democratic process of selecting representation in our constitutional republic.

To me, this reads like, "The schools’ job is to groom children to participate in a pathological bipolar political system in a way that doesn’t upset the status quo because us politicians don’t like it when things go off script."

The guy states right up front the main goal of funding public education is indoctrination then goes on to negate the stated purpose.

I’m not from Arizona, so maybe I weren’t edgookated rite.

I always believed the purpose of public education was to teach kids stuff so they learn how to learn and become knowledgeable in a variety of subject matter with the goal of helping to create competent adults capable of autonomous thinking who have the motivation to become the best versions of themselves while doing their best to help society evolve into the best possible version we can handle.

There’s no need to teach math or science if it doesn’t support the stated purpose of education. Do they get diplomas after scoring at least a D- on the "Read a lawn sign and check some boxes on paper" class? Do they get extra credit if they can navigate to the Wikipedia page of a candidate? That’s probably for the AP kids.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: tl;dr

To me, this reads like, "The schools’ job is to groom children to participate in a pathological bipolar political system in a way that doesn’t upset the status quo because us politicians don’t like it when things go off script."

That’s what they want you to think, but it’s something more insidious than that.

This bill has a variety of purposes other than its stated purposes. One is to punish teachers for collective action; as the article notes, there was a #RedForEd walkout last year and Finchem was furious about it. Another purpose, as I noted upthread, is to ban ethnic studies classes.

And, as several commenters have noticed, some people consider scientific principles like evolution and climate change to be "controversial". Arizona has no shortage of politicians who wish to "teach the controversy" around these scientific facts; we recently booted a school superintendent who wanted to introduce an intelligent design curriculum.

As banal as a "both sides" curriculum would be, that’s not really what Finchem wants. He wants to put his finger on the scale in support of his side.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

As banal as a "both sides" curriculum would be, that’s not really what Finchem wants. He wants to put his finger on the scale in support of his side.

It is what everyone who does the “both sides” bullshit wants. A Flat Earther, for example, wants their of the “argument” about the shape of the Earth heard—and without a “both sides” requirement that treats the position of Flat Earthers and the position of everyone with a fully functioning brain as equally valid positions that require “debate”, the Flat Earthers will rightfully have their bullshit laughed out of anywhere that is not “Flat-friendly”.

Incidentally, the Charlottesville situation is tangentially related to this by way of Donald Trump’s remarks about “fine people on both sides”. His comments placed White supremacists and Nazis on the same level of validity as those protesting the White supremacists and Nazis. It gave the so-called “alt-right” groups a boost in credibility, regardless of whether Trump meant to do that. (Although given his racist leanings and the general racial demography of his voter base, his doing so intentionally would not surprise me.)

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