It's one of the great American ironies that the Republican Party - an abolitionist party headed by Abraham Lincoln - became controlled by southern racists...the Confederacy, essentially. But this was the price of Nixon's Southern Strategy. It was Nixon who allowed this cancer into his party, and now it has overwhelmed its host.
Arizona Legislature Bans Ethnic-Studies Programs
Just a week after signing the country's toughest immigration bill into law, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer now must decide whether to endorse another bill passed by her state legislature — one that outlaws ethnic-studies programs in public schools.
The bill forbids Arizona schools from using any curriculum that promotes "the overthrow of the United States government" or "resentment toward a race or class of people." It also disallows any curriculum that's "designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group" or that seeks to "advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."
Arizona's superintendent for public instruction, Tom Horne, has said he's backing the measure because ethnic-studies programs encourage "ethnic chauvinism"; he's also suggested that such programs could breed secessionist sentiment among Hispanic students.
Arizona Grades Teachers on Fluency
The Arizona Department of Education recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English.
State education officials say the move is intended to ensure that students with limited English have teachers who speak the language flawlessly. But some school principals and administrators say the department is imposing arbitrary fluency standards that could undermine students by thinning the ranks of experienced educators.
The teacher controversy comes amid an increasingly tense debate over immigration. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer this month signed the nation's toughest law to crack down on illegal immigrants. Critics charge that the broader political climate has emboldened state education officials to target immigrant teachers at a time when a budget crisis has forced layoffs.