Gov. Jan Brewer on May 11 signed a bill that prohibits public schools from teaching racially divisive courses, which takes aim at classes such at the Tucson Unified School District’s Raza Studies program.
The bill, H2281, bans classes that are racially divisive, promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, and those designed solely for students of specific ethnicities or advocate ethnic solidarity. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Steve Montenegro and championed by Superintendant of Public Instruction Tom Horne.
In addition, the bill prohibits schools from basing disciplinary actions on race or ethnicity. It does not affect English-learner classes or classes that teach the history of an ethnic group, as long as the class is open to all students.
The bill bans was largely prompted by the Raza Studies program, which came under fire in 2006 when Latino civil rights icon Dolores Huerta told a group of Tucson high school students during an assembly that “Republicans hate Latinos.”
Many Republicans said the bill is necessary to end classes that promote hatred toward the United States, while many Democrats decried H2281 as racist.
In late April, Brewer signed S1070, a far-reaching bill cracking down on illegal immigration that split the political spectrum along similar lines.