Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Arizona, a hotbed of anti-immigrant fervor, is up to it again, this time with a proposal that targets teaching diversity in public schools:
Matthew Benson writes in the Arizona Republic:
Arizona public schools would be barred from any teachings considered counter to democracy or Western civilization under a proposal endorsed Wednesday by a legislative panel.
Additionally, the measure would prohibit students of the state's universities and community colleges from forming groups based in whole or part on the race of their members, such as the Black Business Students Association at Arizona State University or Native Americans United at Northern Arizona University. Those groups would be forbidden from operating on campus.
The brainchild of Rep. Russell Pearce, the measure appeared as an amendment to Senate Bill 1108, which originally would have made minor changes to the state's Homeland Security advisory councils. The House Appropriations Committee approved the new proposal on a 9-6 vote.
Pearce, a Mesa Republican, said his target isn't diversity instruction, but schools that use taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate students in what he characterized as anti-American or seditious thinking. The measure is at least partially a response to a controversy surrounding an ethnic-studies program in the Tucson Unified School District, which critics have said is unpatriotic and teaches revolution.
SB 1108 states, "A primary purpose of public education is to inculcate values of American citizenship. Public tax dollars used in public schools should not be used to denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization."
For schools that violate the anti-Western-teachings provision, the bill provides the state superintendent of public instruction with the authority to withhold a portion of state funding. Click here for the rest of the story.