“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.” – Thomas Jefferson
Linda Chavez | American History, Not Ethnic Studies
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?
Ken Connor | Constitution, Not Court, Is Supreme
The hype and angst surrounding Elena Kagan’s nomination to the highest court of the United States proves the truth of Robert Bork’s statement in his book, The Tempting of America, that the Supreme Court is the “trump card” of American politics. Liberals are in full-blown spin mode and conservatives are sharpening their long knives. Why? Because, as Bork explains, judges decide what the Constitution means. “When the Supreme Court invokes the Constitution, whether legitimately or not, as to that issue, the democratic process is at an end.” Hence, the importance of judicial philosophy.
Does the nominee believe that the words of the Constitution have objective, propositional meaning, or are they merely empty vessels into which the justices may pour their own meaning? Does the intent of the Framers and their original understanding of the language set forth in the document act as a pole star for the guidance of modern day justices, or is the Constitution a document that is ever changing, evolving with the times like our standards of decency and taste? Will international law shape the outcome of cases that appear before the court or will the history and traditions of the American Republic weigh more heavily in the balance? Does the nominee come to the bench with a political or social agenda, or is she content to let the people and their elected officials set those agendas for the country?
Inquiring minds want to know, because ideas have consequences?especially when they emanate from the Supreme Court.