Arizona, also known as the Grand Canyon State, is no stranger to controversy when it comes to its taxpayer-funded colleges and universities. This time, there are claims that the University of Arizona (UA), Arizona State University (ASU), and Northern Arizona University (NAU) are not acting in good faith to comply with state laws on civics education requirements.
The National Association of Scholars (NAS) issued a study which detailed how Arizona’s higher education institutions, funded by state taxpayers, dodge, evade, or misdirect its requirements to comply with Arizona state laws on civics education.
The study’s author, John D. Sailer, is a research associate at NAS and previously worked as a teacher. He also published a similar case study on Utah’s universities and colleges and their non-compliance on civics education.
The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR), and state legislature, mandated that civics education be taught in all levels of school. Technically, it required the study of “American Institutions” at the college level and it included the “study of Economics Theory and U.S. History.” Other parts of the requirement are teaching “how the history of the United States continues to shape the present,” “basic principles of American constitutional democracy,” “essential founding documents,” and “basic economic knowledge to critically assess public policy options”.
However, NAS’s case study found that UA, ASU, and NAU are using the civics requirement to push courses on diversity, equity, and inclusion and water down basic civics education.
UA’s general education requirements “include no course devoted to American Institutions” and allows students to take an assessment that would lead to other course recommendations. As an example of a course recommendation, UA could suggest a student take an economics introduction course and not one on U.S. history. Also, UA allegedly embedded a checklist for diversity and equity attributes necessary for American Institution courses, which checklist does not fulfill the ABOA’s requirements but creates a new set of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) requirements.
ASU, according to the case study, “has released little information on what its new curriculum might look like” and does not “mandate any coursework in United States history in either its general education or graduation requirements.” Although there are courses focusing on U.S. history, such as courses on U.S. history before 1865 and after 1865, the university offers more courses favorable to DEI dogma than the state-mandated American Institutions requirements. There are 7 ASU courses specifically about U.S. history, compared to the dozens of DEI-related courses such as “Intro to LGBT Studies,” “Immigration & Ethnicity in the U.S.,” or “Race, Gender, and Class.”
NAU may not stand out from UA or ASU when it comes to non-compliance with the ABOR’s requirements. Although NAU incorporated ABOR’s requirements verbatim on its website, it still required diversity courses in its general education curriculum for a total of 12 credits (which is almost a semester’s worth of courses). The case study also alleged that NAU requires students to “take four courses that explicitly incorporate critical theory.
NAS’s case study recommended multiple policy recommendations, such as reforming ABOR to appoint administrative experts who could hold UA, ASU, and NAU accountable with technical skills. With the expertise, these board members could force the removal of DEI emphases from the core of these institutions.
Colleges and universities are breeding grounds for leftist ideology and NAS’s case study highlighted how subversive the DEI movement has become through its non-compliance and resistance to the will of elected leaders and the public.