PHOENIX - Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill limiting what kind of courses schools can offer in the name of cultural diversity Tuesday.
Without comment, Brewer signed the controversial legislation, which declares students "should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people.''
The law, aimed specifically at the ethnic studies program at Tucson Unified School District, is far more complex than that goal.
It makes it illegal for public schools to have any courses or classes that promote the overthrow of the United States government or promote resentment toward a race or class of people. It also bars any programs "designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group."
TUSD officials who reviewed the legislation have said nothing they are doing in the special program violates the law, which takes effect at the end of the year.
The law, however, leaves the final decision to the state Board of Education or the state school superintendent, and current schools chief Tom Horne disagrees - although Horne is stepping down to run for attorney general.
If his replacement, or the school board, share Horne's opinion the law gives them the power to withhold up to 10 percent of a school's state aid.
It also prohibits schools from having any disciplinary rules based on race, ethnicity, religion, sex or national origin, with schools facing the same 10 percent loss of state aid for violations.