Arizona Bans Ethnic Studies—Update

Arizona Bans Ethnic Studies—Update

"Advocating ethnic solidarity" is now illegal in Arizona public schools.

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UPDATE: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed a bill that will end ethnic studies classes in the state.  Her action came one day after UN human rights experts released a statement criticizing the bill on the grounds that all people have the right to learn about their own cultural and linguistic heritage.

The bill bans classes that "promote resentment toward a race or class of people," "are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group," or "advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treating pupils as individuals."

Also prohibited: all those classes that "promote the overthrow of the U.S. government."

The author of the bill, Tom Horne, the state superintendent of public instruction, is running for the Republican nomination for state attorney general. He told local media that his target is the Mexican-American studies curriculum in Tucson public schools. The bill however applies to all public and charter schools from kindergarten through 12th grade.

One might object that the bill itself "promotes resentment toward a race or class of people."

State Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, who opposed the bill, suggested that it would prohibit teaching about 9-11 because that would promote hatred of Muslims. Supporters of the bill somehow rejected that argument.

Fox News reported the good news that the bill "does not prohibit the teaching of the Holocaust."

State money will be cut from schools or districts found to have violated the bill.

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