Jan Brewer, governor of Arizona, signed HB 2281 into law yesterday, making it illegal for school districts in the state to teach classes expressly for students of ethnic backgrounds.
HB 2281 states that students “should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people.” In meeting that end, it prohibits:
- Classes that promote the overthrowing of the U. S. government
- Classes that promote the hatred or resentment of a race or class of people
- Classes that are designed for students of a particular ethnic group
- Classes that advocate ethnic solidarity
Supporters of HB 2281 believe that ethnic studies classes are divisive while opponents of the bill believe that it targets Chicanos and Latinos in the same manner as the state’s controversial immigration bill.
School districts refusing to comply with the law could lose up to 10% of their state allocated funding per year.
The president of the Tuscon Unified School District’s governing board has no intention of ending their K-12 ethnic studies program. Judy Burns is quoted in the L. A. Times as saying, “We don’t teach all those ugly things they think we’re teaching.”
According to the L. A. Times, the Tuscon program is supported by a court-ordered desegregation budget, and a part of the district’s plan for equal access for all students.
School districts can appeal the law that becomes effective on December 31.