Ethnic Studies Now Banned in Arizona

Tuesday, January 04, 2011
School board officials in Tucson are standing by their Mexican American Studies program in the face of a new law that seeks to ban all ethnic studies in public schools.
The new law, which took effect January 1, prohibits classes that “promote resentment toward a race or class of people; are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group; advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treatment of pupils as individuals.”
For the third time in four months, the Tucson Unified School District’s governing board adopted a resolution stating that the Mexican American Studies program does not violate state law.
According to the latest resolution, the school district recognizes “that the inclusion of historical oppression…within the curriculum does not inherently promote the resentment of a particular group of people nor does it promote anti-American sentiments.”
Tom Horne, state superintendent for public instruction, disagrees. Horne insists Mexican American Studies promotes ethnic chauvinism, and he has threatened to cut off state funding to Tucson public schools unless the program is terminated. Tucson schools could lose up to $3 million a month.
In an open letter to the school board, Horne criticized controversial statements from textbooks used in the program, including one that says that “Texans had never come to grips with the fact that Mexicans had won at the Alamo.” Another, referring to “Aztlan,” the states taken from Mexico in 1848 (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and California), states “Apparently the U.S. is having as little success in keeping the Mexicans out of Aztlan as Mexico had when they tried to keep the North Americans out of Texas in 1830.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
TUSD Board Affirms Decision to Keep Ethnic Studies (by Jamar Younger, Arizona Daily Star)
Ethnic Studies Classes Illegal in Arizona Public Schools as of Jan. 1 (by Lourdes Medrano, Christian Science Monitor)
An Open Letter to the Citizens of Tucson (Tom Horne, Superintendent of Public Instruction) (pdf)


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