JULY 8, 2015

Superintendent Diane Douglas issues statement on Ethnic Studies ruling

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PHOENIX – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today responded to the latest court ruling on the case now referred to as Arce v. Douglas.

“I will continue to move forward with my plan that all children in Arizona receive an inclusive educational experience that recognizes the greatness and the trials experienced by all ethnicities,” said Superintendent Douglas. “My goal is that the next generation will find such laws and court trials archaic because Arizona school children will learn of everyone’s rich heritage and we will teach appreciation, not discrimination in our schools.”

Douglas is very thankful for the many prominent members of the Arizona community who have risen up to support this goal. She has changed her advisory committees to “action” committees, asking that the Native American Education, Latino Education and African American Education Action Committees not only provide advice, but give specific recommendations that can be included in future standards and model curricula so that all Arizona children are taught appreciation for diversity.

“Holding a color palette to a child’s skin to determine which instruction they should receive is abhorrent in our society,” Douglas stated. “If we are to stamp out racism and discrimination, shouldn’t we expand ethnic studies statewide and teach all children of all backgrounds an inclusive course of studies?  What lesson do we teach if we design classes for our children based on their color or ethnic background?”

Associate Superintendent of Special Projects Leah Landrum Taylor was specifically hired by Douglas in order to push toward a future free from racial tensions in our schools. For the first time, chairmen of the three action committees met together with the hope that soon there will no longer be a need for a special committee to take into consideration equal inclusion of all backgrounds in the education system.

“We have made great strides with Superintendent H. T. Sanchez and the Tucson Unified School District to expand appropriate ethnic studies to all children irrespective of race or ethnicity,” the Superintendent added. “If we continue this progress, we can make moot this and future litigation by having the same high quality inclusive course of instruction for every child whether they attend school in Tucson, Window Rock, Prescott, Scottsdale or Yuma.

“I strongly support ARS 15-112, which prohibits courses or classes that: (1) Promote the overthrow of the United States government; (2) Promote resentment toward a race or class of people; (3) Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group; or (4) Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.

“If you look at that list, it’s hard to see why anyone would want to teach any of that. As the country gets excited about the Confederate flag on the capitol in South Carolina, I don’t see why they also would not want to do away with academic segregation and teaching people by their ethnicity rather than as children under the laws of the land and in the sight of God.”

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