[News] Arizona Ethnic Studies Law Signed By Governor
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 12 18:35:51 EDT 2010
Ethnic Studies Law Signed By Governor Brewer,
Condemned By UN Human Rights Experts
J. COOPER | 05/11/10 11:50 PM |
PHOENIX Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill
targeting a school district's ethnic studies
program on Tuesday, hours after a report by
United Nations human rights experts condemned the measure.
State schools chief Tom Horne, who has pushed the
measure for years, said a Tucson school district
program promotes "ethnic chauvinism" and racial
resentment toward whites while segregating students by race.
"It's just like the old South, and it's long past
time that we prohibited it," Horne said.
The measure prohibits classes that advocate
ethnic solidarity, that are designed primarily
for students of a particular race or that promote
resentment toward a certain ethnic group. It also
prohibits classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.
The Tucson Unified School District program offers
specialized courses in African-American,
Mexican-American and Native-American studies that
focus on history and literature and include
information about the influence of a particular ethnic group.
For example, in the Mexican-American Studies
program, an American history course explores the
role of Hispanics in the Vietnam War, and a
literature course emphasizes Latino authors.
Horne said he believes the Mexican-American
studies program teaches Latino students that they
are oppressed by white people. Public schools
should not be encouraging students to resent a particular race, he said.
Brewer's signature on the bill comes less than a
month after she signed the nation's toughest
crackdown on illegal immigration a move that
ignited international backlash amid charges the
measure would encourage racial profiling of Hispanics.
A Republican running for attorney general, Horne
has been trying to restrict the program ever
since he learned that Hispanic civil rights
activist Dolores Huerta in 2006 told students that "Republicans hate Latinos."
District officials said the program doesn't
promote resentment, and they believe it would comply with the new law.
About 1,500 students at six high schools in the
district are enrolled in the program. Elementary
and middle school students also are exposed to
the ethnic studies curriculum. The district is 56
percent Hispanic, with nearly 31,000 Latino students.
Sean Arce, director of the district's
Mexican-American Studies program, said last month
that students perform better in school if they
see in the curriculum people who look like them.
"It's a highly engaging program that we have, and
it's unfortunate that the state Legislature would
go so far as to censor these classes," he said.
Six UN human rights experts released a statement
earlier Tuesday expressing concern about the
measure. All people have the right to learn about
their own cultural and linguistic heritage, they said.
Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman didn't directly
address the UN criticism, but said Brewer supports the bill's goal.
"The governor believes ... public school students
should be taught to treat and value each other as
individuals and not be taught to resent or hate
other races or classes of people," Senseman said.
The law doesn't prohibit classes that teach about
the history of a particular ethnic group, as long
as the course is open to all students and doesn't
promote ethnic solidarity or resentment.
Arce could not immediately be reached after
Brewer signed the bill late Tuesday.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the News