Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:
Regarding the May 6 article concerning the bill passed by the Arizona House requiring teachers to teach both sides of certain controversies, it is sad that it has come to the point that some teachers exploit their position to propagandize students and, in doing so, make life difficult for other teachers. As a side note, it is odd that Mr. Fischer, in a news article, uses the loaded phrase "to punish teachers" to describe the legislation but, having read prior articles by Mr. Fischer, I am not surprised at his editorializing. Perhaps if all our teachers confined themselves to teaching the three R's, the bill could be rescinded.
The quote of Rep. Randall Friese is a fine example of the ignorance resulting from the replacement of teaching by propagandizing. First, since I assume Mr. Friese is an American, when he says that "our country enslaved people for 400 years," I presume we are talking about America. Mr. Friese should know that, taking the signing of the Declaration of Independence as the founding of America, our country will be 245 years old this July. He should also know that a civil war was fought to end slavery and, taking the date of the Emancipation Proclamation as the end of slavery, that evil institution afflicted America for 87 years, not 400. Second, despite Mr. Friese's statement, I cannot find any evidence that "our country" enslaved people; slaves were owned by individuals in those states and territories that allowed it for those 87 years, but that practice was unfortunately worldwide and not confined to America.
Finally, I agree that it is unfortunate that the bill referenced in the article was deemed necessary. I hope that some teachers will feel pressure to reform from the vast number of teachers who do not abuse their position.