“Ethnic-Studies Course is Illegal”

Here is some information that comes from Arizona.  Once again, it appears that Ethnic Studies and Indigenous Studies programs are facing termination.  Please review, discuss and comment.

State gives TUSD 60 days to heed law
Ethnic-studies course is illegal, Huppenthal says
by Pat Kossan
The Arizona Republic

Jan. 5, 2011 – Arizona’s new superintendent of public schools is giving Tucson Unified School District 60 days to comply with a new state law that prohibits teaching courses aimed at certain ethnic groups.

In a written statement released Tuesday, John Huppenthal said he agreed with former state schools superintendent Tom Horne’s decision that the Mexican-American studies courses offered by the state’s second-largest district violate the law.

Horne held a news conference Monday, shortly before he was sworn in as the state’s new attorney general, and presented evidence of the district’s violations.
Tucson Unified board members have consistently backed the courses, which teach high-school students about Mexican-Americans’ historical and social contributions. Horne pushed the passage of a law that bans classes dedicated to certain ethnic groups or that advocate ethnic solidarity. Horne said such courses provoke racism and encourage students to see themselves as oppressed. Tucson Unified officials say the curriculum helps students understand how to overcome adversity and make a positive impact on society.

Last week, the Tucson Unified board renewed its commitment to the courses but also resolved to comply with the new law and find a compromise. If Huppenthal finds that the district continues to be in violation, he can cut its state funding by 10 percent, or $15 million.

In the release, Huppenthal said he needed to review Horne’s evidence before commenting on specifics and offered his “full resources and commitment” to help Tucson Unified School District comply.

The district’s new superintendent, John Pedicone, said he hoped to reach an agreement with Huppenthal because a cut in funds “will cripple the district.”
Huppenthal also encouraged the district to review all of its courses, not just Mexican-American studies, because some of its schools, particularly those that serve minority students, are among the worst-performing in the state.

“These minority students are being consigned to a lesser future,” Huppenthal said. “They deserve better.”

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2011/01/05/20110105ethnicstudies05.html


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