The White-Washing of Arizona: Part 3

By: Christopher Donaldson

WTF Arizona?

First, Governor Jan Brewer signs the nation's toughest immigration bill into state law. Then, the Department of Education starts telling school districts to fire teachers with heavily-accented English. And now the Arizona legislature has passed the Governor a bill that would make it illegal for a school district to teach "Ethnic Studies programs."

The bill would disallow courses that "promote overthrowing the government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, focus primarily on students of a particular ethnic group, or 'advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.'" The bill allows classes teaching about the Holocaust and English as a second language, as well as Native American studies, but would presumably disallow public school classes about African-American and Latino history. Any school that does not follow the law could lose state funds.

State Superintendent for Public Instruction, Tom Horne, called the bill's passage in the Arizona legislature "a victory" against "ethnic chauvinism" stating that education should unite rather than divide students.But public school US history textbooks seldom embrace true American diversity by spending equal time on citizens of all races and classes. By edging out non-English teachers and minority-focused curriculum, the Arizona government will severely limit a school's ability to fill the gaps of the American history with substantive information about those wiped from history's pages.