Tucson Orders Closure of Mexican-American School Program as Ethnic Studies Faces Nationwide Threat
December 29, 2011 in Human Rights
An Arizona administrator has ruled that the public school district in Tucson must end its acclaimed Mexican-American studies program for grades K-12, saying it violates a new state law that bans the teaching of any class designed for a particular ethnic group or that "promote[s] resentment toward a race or class of people." But the program’s supporters say the classes push the district’s largely Latino student body to excel academically while teaching them long-neglected perspectives. We speak to Tucson Mexican-American history teacher Lorenzo Lopez and his daughter, Korina, a high school sophomore. Both are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit to stop the ban from taking effect. We’re also joined by Dr. Rodolfo Acuña, author of "Occupied America: A History of Chicanos," considered the definitive introduction to Chicano history in the United States. Dr. Acuña warns copycat laws are likely to follow in other states as part of a growing campaign against ethnic studies programs, in particular Chicano studies, throughout the country.