Arizona gov. signs bill targeting ethnic studies

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a bill targeting a school district’s ethnic studies program, hours after a report by United Nations human rights experts condemned the measure, reports the Associated Press. State schools chief Tom Horne, who has pushed the bill for years, said he believes the Tucson school district’s 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. The measure signed May 11 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. 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. District officials said the program doesn’t promote resentment, and they believe it would comply with the new law. The measure 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. 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…

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