The conservative support that brought Diane Douglas to the Nov. 6, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction victory was based on her steadfast opposition to the Common Core curriculum. Her base also counted on Douglas following in the footsteps of an earlier two-term predecessor, Tom Horne, who successfully fought the divisive ethnic studies program in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD). A lawyer, he personally argued the case in U.S. District Court in Tucson.
Instead, using slippery language, Douglas has taken a startling new position on the separatist studies. After a meeting with TUSD Superintendent Heliodoro Torres “H.T.” Sanchez, Douglas concluded that “elements” of the district’s program, including a section on hip-hop music, went too far. But she is not actually opposed to ethnic studies. In a statement released following her meeting with Sanchez, Douglas hit a low note with this conclusion, “It is important to correct the misunderstanding that the Arizona Department of Education is opposed to ethnic studies. If any child educated in Arizona is not exposed to the suffering, trials and triumphs of all ethnic groups who have contributed to our state’s rich cultural mix, then we are failing to teach accurate history.”
Douglas’ immediate former predecessor John Huppenthal addressed this issue in a Jan. 2, 2015 press release as he was leaving the superintendent’s post.
“During my tenure as Superintendent, I have been closely monitoring the status of the Tucson Unified School District’s culturally relevant curricula to ensure that all TUSD students, regardless of their race or ethnic background, have access to a high quality education,” Huppenthal wrote. “After a thorough review of materials from TUSD’s culturally relevant courses, I find that the district has failed to meet several provisions of the 2012 Settlement Agreement settlement and is once again in clear violation of A.R.S. §15-112. Furthermore, I am deeply concerned by the fact that the noncompliance appears to extend beyond classes taught from the Mexican American perspective and now also includes classes taught from the African-American perspective.”
Huppenthal nailed it.
Tom Horne also got it right when he previously said, “Traditionally, the American public school system has brought together students from different backgrounds and taught them to be Americans and to treat each other as individuals, and not on the basis of their ethnic backgrounds. This is consistent with the fundamental American value that we are all individuals, not exemplars of whatever ethnic groups we were born into. Ethnic studies programs teach the opposite, and are designed to promote ethnic chauvinism.”
There is palpable disappointment at Douglas’ apparent willingness to expand and breathe new life into the discredited program. How does the establishment of statewide minority programs that focus on victim status and characterize the United States as an oppressor nation benefit students? Shouldn’t the emphasis be on an inclusive American history rather than one that separates, blames and embraces victimhood in this country of unparalleled opportunity?
As an advertised conservative who appeared to possess quality credentials from her years on the Peoria Unified School District Governing Board, great hope was placed in her election triumph over a dedicated leftist educrat.
After just days in office, her supporters must already be wondering if Diane Douglas has forgotten who ‘brung her to the dance?’
Seeing Red AZ has covered the anti-American, La Raza–endorsed ethnic-studies programs since 2008. Here is a sampling:
March 12, 2013: AZ AG Horne victory: Judge upholds ethnic studies ban
Dec. 28, 2011: TUSD Mexican anti-American studies violates law
April 22, 2011: Chaos erupts over TUSD’s review of ethnic studies program
April 30, 2010: Bill to ban separatist studies sent to Gov. Brewer
Sept. 24, 2009: It’s still too hot to be taken in by TUSD’s snow job
Sept. 22, 2009: Bizarre race-based system of discipline for Tucson Schools
June 28, 2009: Anti-Americanism passing as education in Tucson
June 11, 2008: Travesty in Tucson