Just a week after passing a controversial and historically aggressive immigration law, the Arizona State Legislature passed a bill April 2 that its critics say is simply a veiled attempt to quash one of the school districts’ Mexican-American studies programs.
Under the legislation, which passed the state House and Senate on consecutive days, schools will be stripped of state funding if they offer courses that "promote the overthrow of the United States government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."
Tom Horne, state superintendent for public instruction, said the bill is aimed at preventing new and existing programs that "are designed to promote ethnic chauvinism."
Opponents of the legislation argue that the bill will affect the way that educators teach history, and that state lawmakers should not be involved in creating and monitoring curriculum, the Arizona Daily Star reports.
In response to the measure, State Senator Linda Lopez, an open critic of the legislation, proposed that schools also stop teaching the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as they promote resentment toward Japanese and Arab Americans. Lopez noted that she was not seriously pushing the amendment, but was just trying to make a point.
The bill will now head to the desk of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer for her signature.