State Rep. Russell Pearce (R-Mesa) wants to clarify what kind of content is acceptable in Arizona’s classrooms, so he has called for a ban on public school courses that are contrary to “western civilization.” Pearce’s proposal would prohibit a public school from including content deemed to “promote, assert as truth or feature as an exclusive focus any political, religious, ideological or cultural beliefs or values that denigrate, disparage or overtly encourage dissent from the values of American democracy and western civilization, including democracy, capitalism, pluralism and religious toleration.” The bill would also ban race-based groups, such as Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, from operating on public campuses. The legislation follows a controversy over Tucson Unified School District’s “Raza Studies” program.
“This bill basically says, ‘You’re here. Adopt American values,’ ” Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) told The Arizona Republic. “If you want a different culture, then fine, go back to that culture.” The House Appropriations Committee approved the measure by a vote of nine to six, but Pearce told PBS the measure is probably “written too broadly” and would be revised before it goes up for a vote.