Arizona Pressures Ethnic Studies Programs to Comply With Law or Lose Funding
Schools chief says classes promote "ethnic chauvinism"
The beleaguered state of Arizona is stumbling through a string of nightmares: discriminatory immigration laws, the Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz) shootings, including 9-year-old Christina Greene. Now they're back in the headlines again.
Arizona state schools chief said Wednesday that an ethnic studies program is in violation of a law signed by Governor Jan Brewer on May 11th, 2010, that prohibits classes that “advocate ethnic solidarity among Latinos and promotes resentment toward white people.”
The curriculum also offers specialized courses in African-American and Native-American studies. Former Republican State Schools Chief Tom Horne claimed that the program promotes “ethnic chauvinism,” and teaches Latino students that they are “oppressed” by white people.
The AP reports that Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal has given Tucson Unified School District two months to comply with the law or face losing 10 percent of its annual state funding - or about $15 million.
"This is not rocket science. This is fundamental," Huppenthal said at a news conference at his Phoenix office. "They have gotten themselves in a very tight corner. The ball is back in their court."
Passages included in the curriculum, which Huppenthal finds offensive, state that, "We will now see the real forces behind this so-called `manifest destiny.' We will see how half of Mexico was ripped off by trickery and violence."
"In the process of being colonized, we were robbed of land and other resources," according to the quote provided by the department. "We were murdered and lynched."
Tucson Unified School District Superintendent John Pedicone said that he and the district's board members will meet Friday and discuss the possibility of appealing the department's decision.