money drain
Arizona Department of Education Gives University of Arizona $1.2 Million for ‘Identity Exploration’

June 8, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

$1.2 million from the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) will fund the University of Arizona’s (UArizona) “identity exploration” efforts for indigenous children.

Specifically, the grant was awarded to the Native Student Outreach, Access, and Resiliency (SOAR) program within UArizona’s College of Education. Native SOAR is a “multigenerational mentoring program culturally grounded in indigenous teachings and Ways of Knowing.” 

Native SOAR Director Amanda Cheromiah explained in a press release that the program uses culturally responsive teaching to improve indigenous students’ college enrollment. Culturally responsive teaching aligns with the controversial Critical Race Theory (CRT). 

“Historically, Indigenous students have lower enrollment, retention, and graduation rates in higher education compared to other student populations,” said Cheromiah. “Native SOAR closes educational gaps by providing culturally responsive programming and mentorship that increases the number of indigenous students who enter and graduate from college.”

The program also promotes other, similar controversial ideologies such as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and concepts like systemic racism.

“Advocating for access and equity is personal/exhausting, [especially] when you are constantly centering the uninformed with the realities of genocide, slavery, and institutional racism,” tweeted Native SOAR. 

The 10-week program has UArizona students mentor middle and high school students for three to four hours a week on college, cultural resilience, leadership, and identity exploration. It also offers students a class worth three university credits per semester. 

The grant will enable the purchase of 750 tablets loaded with the mentoring resources for students, and 65 tablets for program staff and educators. It will also pay for more workshops and K-12 educators’ professional development opportunities.

Since its inception in 2005, the Native SOAR program has earned national recognitions, including one by former First Lady Michelle Obama. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Get FREE News Delivered to Your Inbox!

Corporate media seeks stories that serve its own interests. But you deserve to know what’s really going on in your community. Stay up to date on the latest in Arizona by signing up to get FREE news delivered to your inbox.

You May Also Like …

Connect with us!


A project of the Arizona Freedom Foundation  |  All Rights Reserved 2023

Share This