Sunday, January 15, 2017

Arizona Republicans Want to Prohibit Teaching Social Justice

Just like freedom of speech, everybody thinks there should be academic freedom until a teacher does something they don’t agree with. Such is the case with Representatives Thorpe and Finchem of the Arizona State House of Representatives.

Thorpe and Finchem have introduced HB 2120 that prohibits schools and colleges receiving state monies from teaching “social justice” or any other thing that would lead to “division” among the races or ethnic groups. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction or the State Board of Education would be given the power to determine if a school was in violation of the bill’s prohibitions. Schools found in violation of the law – if the bill were to win support – may be fined 10% of their state allocation. In the case of a large school district, community college, or any of the three state universities, that would amount to a lot of money – like, millions.

It’s hard to see such bills as anything other than raw meat thrown to the base; but in the case of Arizona, stupider things than passing such bills have happened.

Gene V Glass
Arizona State University
University of Colorado Boulder
National Education Policy Center
San José State University

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the National Education Policy Center, Arizona State University, University of Colorado Boulder, nor San José State University.


  1. Just finished a course on the intellectual response to the rise of Naziism. There is too much going on these days to not think that we are mirroring many of those events.

  2. Someone didn't proofread this bill. It should have read social INJUSTICE. If this is not a typo, it is an abomination, even for AZ.

  3. This news is kind of disturbing for me. At first, you can prohibit teaching something, however, you cannot prohibit students finding it out on their own. It’s like with Sex Ed, you want young leaners to find out about an important part of their life from an educated person, you don’t want them to jump to any false conclusions. That’s why it’s better kids learn social justice at school. This will help them better understand the world and increase their chances in finding an online essay reader service.