Photo: Glenn Beck Fox News
Glenn Beck said that “the top education official” in Arizona ruled that an ethnic studies program, which Beck claimed “called for the overthrow of the United States government,” was in violation of state law. But Beck didn’t note that a study commissioned by that same Arizona official found no violation of the law.
Beck: “Top Education Official” In AZ Said Program “Violated A New State Law”
Beck: Students “Chanting” In Favor Of Program Were “Revved Up By Former Hippie Revolutionaries.” From Beck’s TV show:
BECK: We told you about a story out of Arizona. And the top education official said yesterday that the ethnic studies program—you remember, the one we told you about that called for the overthrow of the United States government and had these students chanting for it because they were all revved up by former hippie revolutionaries. The superintendent said that course violated a new state law that if they don’t cut the class, they risk losing 10 percent of their funding, about $15 million. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 6/16/11]
AZ Schools Chief Declared Tucson Program In Violation Of State Law. Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal said that the Tucson Unified School District had 60 days to appeal his ruling that the district’s Mexican American studies program violated three of the four criteria in a new state law, to come into compliance with the law. Huppenthal claimed that the program “promotes resentment towards a race or class of people”; “is designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic race”; and “advocates ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” [Arizona Daily Star, 6/16/11]
But Audit Commissioned By AZ Ed. Dep’t. Contradicts Huppenthal’s Assertion That Law Was Violated
Huppenthal’s Office Commissioned Audit Of Classes In Tucson Program. From a Cambium Learning Inc. audit of classes in the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies Department (MASD):
This document constitutes the final report for the Curriculum Audit of the Tucson Unified School District Mexican American Studies Department. The Arizona Department of Education, the Governing Authority within the scope of its policy-making sanctions, commissioned said curriculum audit. [Cambium Learning Inc. Page 4, 5/2/11]
Audit Found No Violations Of Criteria That Huppenthal Cited. From the Cambium audit:
No observable evidence exists that instruction within Mexican American Studies Department promotes resentment towards a race or class of people. The auditors observed the opposite, as students are taught to be accepting of multiple ethnicities of people. MASD teachers are teaching Cesar Chavez alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi, all as peaceful protesters who sacrificed for people and ideas they believed in. Additionally, all ethnicities are welcomed into the program and these very students of multiple backgrounds are being inspired and taught in the same manner as Mexican American students. All evidence points to peace as the essence for program teachings. Resentment does not exist in the context of these courses.
The majority of evidence demonstrates that the Mexican American Studies Department’s instruction is NOT designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group. As previously indicated, every current course syllabus states; “At the core of this course is the idea that ALL people should not be required to give up their ethnic and cultural traditions in order to become part of mainstream American society. People have the moral and legal right to maintain the knowledge and identification of their own race, ethnicity, culture, traditions, history, and language. Culture is a major indicator in the ways in which individuals communicate, seek assistance, seek recognition, intellectually process and disseminate information and it significantly impacts the way individuals learn.”
No evidence as seen by the auditors exists to indicate that instruction within Mexican American Studies Department program classes advocates ethnic solidarity; rather it has been proven to treat student [sic] as individuals. [Cambium Learning Inc., Pages 55, 59-60, and 63, 5/2/11]
Audit Concludes That MASD Classes Raise Student Test Scores, Increase Graduation Rates. From the Cambium audit:
There is a positive measurable difference between MASD and the non-MASD comparison group of students. Data indicates that the graduation rate of students in the MASD program is higher than those not in the program. High school juniors taking a MASD course are more likely to pass the reading and writing portion of the AIMS [Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards] subject tests if they had previously failed those subtests in their sophomore year. Consequently, high school seniors enrolled in a MASD course are more likely to graduate than their peers.
In light of the data collected and reviewed, student achievement is due to the sense of pride that develops through their accomplishments with highly effective teachers. Many research-based practices that promote enhanced critical thinking and high-order comprehension of difficult topics is in place and used on a daily basis. Regardless of program, teacher effectiveness achieves results. Effective practices in combination with the motivation to learn for a purpose relevant to students create these results. Students learn to be proud, regardless of ethnicity, and are motivated to exceed and excel. [Cambium Learning Inc., Pages 49-50, 5/2/11]
Audit Recommends Keeping Program With Modifications. From the Cambium audit:
Recommendation 3: Maintain Mexican American Studies courses as part of core curriculum for high school courses: American History, American Government, and Literature.
It is with genuine anticipation that this curriculum audit report will provide the impetus for all stakeholders to reevaluate and unite in a workable consensus. The audit team is optimistic that given proper attention to the areas requiring improvements in the Mexican American Studies Department and Tucson Unified School District, as cited by this curriculum audit, the expectation for increased student achievement for all students of all ethnicities will increase over time. The curriculum audit will provide entry points on how to correct and improve the ethnic studies curriculum offered from the Mexican American Studies Department. [Cambium Learning Inc., Page 69, 5/2/11]
Audit Found “No Observable Evidence” State Law Was Violated. From the Cambium audit:
During the curriculum audit period, no observable evidence was present to suggest that any classroom within Tucson United School District is in direct violation of the law A.R.S. 15-112(A). Schools associated with MASD courses promote a culture of excellence and support a safe and orderly environment conducive to learning. Teachers collectively are building nurturing relationships with students and work to improve student achievement and attendance as identified in numerous focus group interview sessions. A culture of respect exists and students receive additional assistance beyond the regular classroom instruction to support their academic learning. As a result, students from many ethnicities are physically sitting in Mexican American Studies Department classes and are learning that different perspectives are valuable, that Americans come from many backgrounds, and that being an American means that all people are accepted. If this program were revised with significant modification and made available to more students, it is likely there would be even more diversity of students within the courses. [Cambium Learning Inc., Page 63, 5/2/11]
Beck Has Repeatedly Fearmongered About Tucson Program
Beck: “This Is A Class That Separated People. ... If You Were Mexican, You’d Go Into That Class.” From Beck’s radio show:
BECK: These students are angry, and they are pounding on the—they’ve taking over the council chambers. And they’re sitting where the council sits. And they are protesting that the class is being reconsidered. It’s Mexican studies or whatever, and they want to restore it. This is a class that separated people, so you would be—if you were Mexican, you’d go into that class. If you weren’t, you would stay in the other. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 4/28/11]
Beck Falsely Claimed Program Was Mandatory. Beck said of the program: “School officials had the nerve to suggest that teaching children to try to reclaim American land from Mexico is a kind of a questionable concept. Not of course questionable enough to cancel the class. No, no, no. Just questionable enough to make sure the class is an elective rather than mandatory.” In fact, the program’s classes are electives. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 5/5/11; Media Matters, 5/6/11]
Beck Called Class “Racist,” “Communist,” And “Treasonous.” From Beck’s radio show:
BECK: By the way, before we get into this, the superintendent in Arizona, in Tucson—that racist, communist class—that the kids took over the city council—
PAT GRAY (co-host): Don’t forget treasonous.
BECK: Treasonous. They’re teaching our kids to overthrow the United States government, and that is not an understatement. This superintendent has backed down from his stance where he was going to change the curriculum. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 5/19/11]