The Tucson agenda
TUSD versus the Legislature: School board to discuss policies required to comply with new laws
Tucson Unified School District will be the one local government meeting this week and will discuss changing graduation requirements and potentially reshuffling sixth grade into elementary school on certain campuses.
But let's start with book burning ... I mean banning ... I mean "Governing Board Policy IJL - Library Materials Selection and Adoption (Revision)."
Whatever the case, the governing board is now having to negotiate the culture war visited upon the state by lawmakers looking to start fights.
TUSD will take up a new policy which must conform with a state law requiring parents be informed of new books bought by school libraries so that they can then scream to the district governing board about said books.
See there's this other law ...
The Arizona Legislature has decreed that our students should no longer be subject to filth like history, literature and discussions about the diversity of cultural backgrounds that make up America. And for God sakes, don't say "gay" or allow them access to literature describing "sex."
That way, teenage boys will only have pure thoughts.
So lawmakers have sought to empower parents to control every element of their child (and your child's, if you do it wrong) upbringing.
Is there anything outwardly horrible about giving parents the right to know what's in their school library? Of course not. The problem is when it's taken in conjunction with HB 2945, which is meant to ban books that depict sex, or sexual arousal in any way.
So the Bible is out, I take it.
Maybe not. There are exceptions for "serious educational value" or "serious literary, artistic or political or educational value." I'm not sure what the hell that means to the Dogs-Playing-Poker crowd or the folks who believe climate change is not real science. The language for exceptions is wildly vague.
Even then, a student would have to receive written parental permission to read such books. Most kids would rather have their eyes rodded out with a hot steel bottle brush than have that conversation with mom.
So why buy the books? If they do, parents will have advanced warning and can start a school-board-level fight. Then the Legislature can weigh in and provide more "proscriptive" legislation and elevate the fight to the state level and maybe get some national attention.
That is the point of the culture war.
Big picture it. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just warned that the most dangerous person in the world was the head of the national teacher's union because teachers are forcing "filth" on our students. This apparently beat out Vladimir Putin, who's military has targeted children with air-to-ground weapons and killed lord only know how many kids because they are Ukrainian. Ukrainians don't have the right to exist, if you aren't up on Putinism.
He made these comments because he's clearly running for president, even though giving voice to such a thought should disqualify anyone from national politics. He's trying to start fights, too because he knows this is what the Republican Party base wants to hear (even in Arizona).
Jawohl, mein Oberhauptman ...
Back at TUSD, the district's recommendation to comply with this new state law is to say "we'll work on it." As a smarter Tucson is a better Tucson, here's to hoping they take a good long time.
The board will also discuss new graduation requirements as dictated from the Arizona Board of Education.
These requirements aren't horrible, as they now insist on a course in computer science and financial literacy. If handled right, those could be worth the trouble.
There's another requirement that students pass a U.S. Citizenship examination. Annoying? Yes. Hard? No. Learning some civics would be a good thing.
Juneteenth and flooding sarcasm
Finally, the district will discuss whether to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday, or maybe just acknowledge the federal holiday with a tip of the hat.
Juneteenth is short for June Nineteenth. It marks the day federal troops arrive in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state. The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in areas of the Confederate States of America controlled by federal troops.
Gen. Robert Granger read a proclamation freeing those human beings in Lone Star bondage.
To conform with MAGA P.C. (and give me a chance to be a smart ass) I should stipulate slavery wasn't anyone's fault. It just happened. It's not like one race of Americans decided that another race had no right to exist in freedom. Did they get abducted and sold as chattel? But they were on ships and, y'know, ships get sailed. Then their cargo gets sold.
It's not like subjects were acting with verbs on direct objects. So who's to say anyone did anything wrong?
And even if it was what "snowflakes" call "bad," it was in no way defining for the country. Slavery was just a 250-year glitch in the nation's 400 year-old hardware. It was just a blip of sorts that lasted 63 percent of our history.
Steve from IT came down and fixed it by reformatting the hard drive and launching a civil war that killed 600,000 Americans. The fix also hamstrung an entire region of the country for a further century as it refused to give up the lost cause.
Hope the snark didn't trigger anyone. I know how emotional the America-First crowd can be and their emotional well-being should be the first priority in educating kids.
Blake Morlock is an award-winning columnist, who worked in daily journalism for nearly 20 years and is the former communications director for the Pima County Democratic Party.