Christina Kishimoto

An Update: Fun With Censorship

Ah, Arizona!

Just a piece of follow-up; heaven knows we’re bad enough about that around here.

This was supposed to be the day when the superintendent of public schools in Gilbert, Arizona, would present a plan (pdf) for redacting the kids’ honors biology textbooks. The Tea Party majority on the school board voted last month to remove references to abortion from the books, which have been in use for several years now in the district. The board ordered the superintendent to figure out how to do it ....Reece et al. 'Campell Biology' (7th ed.)

.... Board president Staci Burk told the Arizona Republic that parents had already volunteered to help with the redacting, whether by tearing out the pages or cutting out the paragraphs with scissors or blacking them out with a Sharpie. Even after voters undid the Tea Party majority in the elections this month, Burk told us that she expected the superintendent to report back today with a plan for carrying out the board’s order. “I don’t believe there will be any more discussion on the textbooks,” she said.

The board may have failed to account for the opinion of the superintendent herself.

A district spokesperson tells us that Dr. Christina Kishimoto, who is new to the district, believes that the honors biology textbooks already comply with Arizona law about mentions of abortion and that there’s no need to change the books. Kishimoto talked to the board about this yesterday, and now the superintendent does not intend to offer a plan tonight for pulling back information from students. Instead, the board and the superintendent will hold a public discussion about what, exactly, the board wants taken out of the honors biology textbooks.

“Now the board has come back and said, ‘Hey, wait, we want further clarification,’ ” said spokesperson Irene Mahone-Paige. “We’re back to where we started.”

(Conaway)

Not to put too fine a point on it, but when you start running around like village idiots in a panic, it is entirely possible—and, in truth, somewhat likely—to end up looking like, well, village idiots.

Back to where they started? The schools in Gilbert, Arizona, have a simple choice: They can either educate their children, or not. It would seem that in coming back to where they started, they have simply returned to the point of looking for any reason to decide the choice should be to not educate their students.

And, of course, a raising of the wrist to those educators who understand that the students need to pass tests after high school, too. Maybe next Arizona can pass a law prohibiting the use of college degrees in employee candidate assessment.

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Conaway, Laura. “Glimmer of hope for those Arizona honors biology textbooks”. msnbc. 18 November 2014.