KRS-One believes the history of hip-hop should be apart of America’s school system.
“If you don’t know hip-hop, at least a little bit of it, you can’t even call yourself an American,” rapper said “So I don’t even know who these educators are who are ignoring basic American street life. In the future, hip-hop is going to be called American folklore.
The legendary lyricist is not happy that the State of Arizona has called teachers using hip-hop in their teachings ”illegal.” Last month, the state’s department of education head, John Huppenthal, published a letter in which he said the schools in the Tuscon Unified School District were not complying with the state’s curriculum. According to Huppenthal, the ways in which the district taught ethnically focused courses was against the law, and singled out one class, which included an introduction to hip-hop that KRS had written. The class that was using the hip-hop influenced-lesson plan was Cholla High Magnet School teacher Andrew Walanski’s African-American focused English class According to the letter, the class violated the state’s law against courses that ”advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”
KRS-One recently stopped by the school to show his support and spoke with Walanski’s students. Rolling Stone caught up with the MC afterward to hear his thoughts on the visit and the state laws in general.
“It just goes to show how far American education really is [laughs],” said he Bronx native. ”They’re trying to teach hip-hop from a historical perspective and this is what the Arizona state superintendent, or the ‘law’ that was cited, is up against. Their conclusion was that hip-hop was seen as promoting a specific ethnic group. The state would like to promote individualism over collectivism. In [the state’s] view, they felt that this curriculum was turning kids toward the specific view of hip-hop.”
KRS feels as though the state isn’t being real with the law they claim the class violates. He continues on to say that the teachings isn’t illegal but “flies in the face of their codes and what they believe education is.” Teacha was pleased to see an educator taking a progressive approach to schooling, describing Walanski as “ahead of his time.” As for the students at Cholla High, KRS was honored to meet the group of kids he described as “fearless.” He was also impressed to see that the students already had a deep understanding of hip-hop.
KRS-One’s Temple of Hip-Hop courses will officially begin in March. For more information, visit his website.