Book ban controversy in northern Arizona school district

The Christian right's "culture war" battle against literature affirming minority viewpoints has made its way to Mingus Union High School District, which serves Cottonwood, Jerome, Clarkdale, and surrounding communities in the Verde Valley.

At the district’s last meeting, Board Members Austin Babcock, Misty Cox, and President Lori Drake prevented the district from adopting AP and Honors English textbooks because they didn’t like that the books contained prompts for writing about LGBTQ+ identity, gender roles, and anti-racism.

As a result, the district will continue to use books in their place that are 8-10 years out of date.

Per Superintendent Mike Wescott, the district’s rejection of these textbooks will create a less coherent curriculum, reduce articulation between classes, and send the district in the opposite direction of state standards.

You can read a full recap of what was discussed at the meeting in the district’s minutes here. Constituents in the district can contact these members here—as well as Member Carol Anne Teague, who fought for the adoption of the new books.


No scriptures, but plenty of nonsense at the Peoria Unified School District Meeting

Christian nationalist board members at PUSD have seemingly been scared off from quoting violent Bible verses during the meetings, but there were still plenty of other shenanigans, including…

  • Christian nationalist board members Rooks and Hill trying to paint the public hearing about the publicly-available district budget as a conspiracy.
  • The same members voting to approve the budget, despite swearing never to vote for anything ever again (when they lost the fight over a trans bathroom ban)
  • Rooks and Hill opposing a free program that would have taught kids computer science, because of the merest mention of diversity and inclusion in the program description
  • Board President Sandoval stepping out during the vote, allowing the motion to adopt the above program to fail for hateful reasons

On the good side, Rooks and Hill got called out big time during public comments over their history of bullying minority teachers.

Read all the unfiltered details and observations on our Substack.

HELP WANTED: Calling All Pastafarians & Pirates!

Ahoy, Mateys! Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix is looking for a crew of spirited volunteers to help plan the most swashbuckling event of the year—the annual Flying Spaghetti Monster Celebration on Oct 28th!

Come onboard for the first planning meeting on Monday July 31 at 6:30pm and enlist to help!

More details here.

New Shared Calendar!

Ever wished there was just one place to look for all the secular events being held by all the members of our coalition? Well, you’re in luck! We just launched one here!

View, search, and filter events being held by Atheists Helping the Homeless Phoenix, FFRF-VSUN, HSGP, Phoenix Atheists Meetup Group, Prescott Freethinkers, Reason Riders, Tucson Atheist Community Outreach Team, and others.


Launch of Cochise Regional News

Southeast Arizona is located in a news desert. Where once was a healthy news media landscape, with several local newspapers and scores of publications, the area is now whittled down to a few underfunded and largely toothless outlets. So investigative reporter Beau Hodai (Phoenix New Times, Tucson Sentinel, The Bisbee Observer, Carbon County News) has launched Cochise Regional News, with a promise to “provide factual, well-documented investigative reporting that is in the public interest, for the benefit of our community as a whole.”

Read more.


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