Arizona Capitol

Ethnic "Solidarity" Class Prohibition Bill Faces Vote by Lawmakers; Intent is to Ban "Raza Studies" in Tucson High Schools


The State Senate is scheduled to vote today on a bill that would prohibit Arizona schools from offering classes that encourage "ethnic solidarity."

The bill also bans classes "designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group." Pushed by state schools chief Tom Horne, its main target is a $2-million "Raza Studies" program in the Tuscon Unified High School District.

Critics say the bill is overkill, even though some things taught by the raza studies program are clearly on the wacky side.

On the other hand, the program has reportedly boosted AIMS scores of its participants.


Unlike many proposed laws, this one has teeth. If the government receives a notice that a school is in violation, the bill gives the school district 60 days to shape up or face a 10-percent budget cut.

The bill makes exceptions for Native Americans and classes of non-English speakers who are  grouped together to improve grades.

However this goes down, hopefully it'll go quick. A long debate on this one could prove ugly.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.