Tuscon District in Turmoil Over State Ban on Ethnic Studies

Lourdes Medrano, Christian Science Monitor, May 4, 2011

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Hundreds of people converged Tuesday on the Tucson Unified School District headquarters to hear the governing board discuss possible changes to the district’s Mexican-American history and culture program.

Following a raucous four-hour meeting punctuated by the removal of several people from the boardroom and loud protests from the crowd, the board postponed taking action until after it convenes a public forum on the matter.

The law in question, which took effect Jan. 1 and is known as HB 2281, bans ethnic studies that promote the overthrow of the United States government and resentment toward a race or class of people. Also outlawed are classes designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group and those that advocate ethnic solidarity rather than the treatment of students as individuals.

Tom Horne drafted the law when he was superintendent of Arizona schools. Just before he stepped down from that post to become the state’s attorney general, he found the Tucson district’s classes out of compliance with the law. The district could lose millions of dollars in funding.

The new Arizona schools superintendent, John Huppenthal, is expected to rule on whether the Tucson district’s Mexican American Studies program is in compliance with HB 2281.

In the meantime, the Tucson district has proposed changing the program. Currently, Mexican-American courses can help satisfy the social-studies requirement for graduation (although students don’t have to take the courses to fulfill the requirement). Under the proposal, the Mexican-American classes would not count toward the social-studies requirement and would instead be electives. Six-and-a-half elective credits are needed for graduation.

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At the meeting Tuesday, Sean Arce, director of Mexican American Studies, told board members that making the courses elective would essentially kill the program. The move would eliminate student incentive to enroll in the classes, he said

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Dozens of police, some in riot gear, surrounded the building where the meeting (which included an overflow crowd) took place. A police helicopter even hovered above. Before the start of another meeting last week, when the matter was originally supposed to be taken up, youths had chained themselves to board members’ chairs. That session was canceled.

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  • Question Diversity

    There seem to be a lot of people who are officers of the TUSD and who are dependent on the services of the TUSD who don’t seem to realize that you can teach about a race, culture or a country without promulgating hatred of another race, culture or country. It’s just to them, “Mexican Studies” isn’t really that, it’s a convenient phrase and front for hating white people and hating the “gringo oppressor.”

  • Mr.White

    This case demonstrates that we as a nation had better get a handle on these illegal invading mestizos before it’s too late! The fact they have enough influence and power to halt hispanic supremacy program is indicative of the problems these militant invaders bring with them.

  • robert

    “hundreds of people gathered and many were removed dozens of police officers had to be there.” Being from Az. I can tell you that this type of behaviour comes from mainly hispanics (quite a few are illegals who do not speak English,) and they make demands like our country owes them something! They are trying to change our country into being just like the country they are trying so desperately to get away from. They come over here with their hands out for everything our government will give them (at taxpayers expense) and then they get nasty when we do not give them what they want. Did you know there’s a hispanic group who wants the American flag removed from schools because their children find it offensive? What is even worse, there is people who are considering this! These are horrible people. America, politicians are selling our our country out, and we are allowing it. What happened to our backbone? When do we make a stand?

  • Peejay in Frisco

    If Mexicans in Tucson are so keen on teaching ethnic hatred of Whites and the United States, then they should pay for it with their OWN moolah.

  • Todd

    Our government lets them roll in by the millions. They won’t even allow local police to deal with it, now we are seeing the tip of the illegal iceburg. Demands, Threats, TakeOver of our country.

  • Jeddermann.

    It is not so much that the course are going to be taught as an elective but that they are going to be TAUGHT AT ALL!! They are teaching hate and the overthrow of the U.S. government with secret textbooks that have to be kept under lock and key when not in use. Who ever heard of such a thing.

  • Anonymous

    why is it ethnic solidarity when people of color do something just for their race or cause, however, when people of white skin try to do the same thing, they are racist’s? Could it be along the same lines that affirmitive action is? Implementing of this word was suppose to stop the very thing it adhere’s to. Discrimination, yet, isn’t it discriminating within itself?

    re:#3 (1) the backbone was lost when we started giving citizenships for this country out for free, and (2) I don’t know if there are enough real Americans to make a stand.

  • TeaMan

    As a graduate of TUSD, I am disgusted that the Board would even entertain having an anti-American, anti-White curriculum under any circumstances whatsoever. They are demonstrating a scofflaw’s disregard for the laws they are sworn to uphold.

    The White students who have to sit through that stuff truly need to boycott every single class every day. Show up, but ignore the teacher, visit with friends, sing patriotic American songs, do not bring personally issued texts, do not do the assignments. If that level of resistance does not work, sit down outside in the hallway. Do NOT wander the halls, just sit down on the floor outside of class and refuse to budge. Allow the campus police to relocate you if they show up.

    Parents of White children need to speak up when called in for a conference with the administration. Make it clear that you support your children’s resistance.

    Now, let me tell you why this tactic will work.

    Schools are funded according to the time that students are actually attending class. If a student even goes to the nurse for a band-aid, the school loses a dollar or two for the time out of class. TUSD is as strapped for money as every other school district in America. TUSD absolutely cannot afford to suspend or expel White students for boycotting the class. They will have to create a different course to avoid being penalized for non-attendance!

    Non-violent non-compliance will accomplish the objective of the White majority and manifest a strength of character that the “whiny baby” Mexican protesters have not shown.

    Go for it, Arizona!

  • Anonymous

    The real horror is we end up arguing the absurd

    We are arguing if classes which teach mexicans to hate white people and that the land is NOT america should be taught as an elective or core class.

    Shouldn’t we be arguing that it shouldn’t be taught at all!!

  • 38specialady

    So, they TAKE out of schools physical education, music, and art, then substitute it with this garbage? Our society really is a reflection of itself…

  • Vick

    The idea behind these type of classes is that they “tell the stories” of people who have a history of being “marginalized” in this terrible evil country.

    Well, practically EVERY ethnic and racial group has had its moments in US history where they faced adversity or some sort of injustice. My German ancestors faced intense hostility when they first came here. It’s very much an untold story in fact, compared to attention that every other ethnic/racial group gets. But I’m not worried about it – I don’t require entire German-American studies departments in colleges or classes in high school.

    The point of telling these stories of marginalization and so on are to get these minority groups organized to fight present day discrimination.

    The thing is, Mexican-Americans don’t face any discrimination. They just don’t. These kids get just as much per student funding as any white kid (often times more). They get accepted into colleges just as much (often times more thanks to affirmative action). They get hired to jobs just as much (often times more thanks to affirmative action).

    So these Mexican-American kids get special classes teaching them a special version of history tailored just for them out of a sense that they’ve suffered some sort of unique injustice in US history which they haven’t actually suffered, all in order to prepare them to fight against present day discrimination which doesn’t actually exist.

    Yeah, get rid of these classes. What a waste.

  • Sid Sarcastic

    I can hardly wait.

    I can see in the very near future where blacks and Hispanics will have 3 or 4 votes for every white vote.

    Ahh, what a wonderful world it will be?

    But ask yourself this one simple question, WHO allowed them to do it?

  • Jake

    What absoulutely amazes me is that this is even being debated:

    “The law in question, which took effect Jan. 1 and is known as HB 2281, bans ethnic studies that promote the overthrow of the United States government and resentment toward a race or class of people. Also outlawed are classes designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group and those that advocate ethnic solidarity rather than the treatment of students as individuals.”

    Students taking the “Mexican American Studies” are outraged that they cannot continue to take a course in an American school which promotes the overthrow of the U.S. government. How is this possible?????

  • Anonymous

    “Sean Arce, director of Mexican American Studies, told board members that making the courses elective would essentially kill the program.”

    Fool! You just admitted your “program” has ZERO educational merit! He might just as well have said “Since the program is mandatory kids can be forced to take it no matter what it ‘teaches.’ If it is elective kids won’t bother”

    I teach. Thank God its a long long way from this dump. Every class I teach is elective. If I don’t do a good job and teach classes that have practical value, I don’t have a program or a JOB! This half-wit just admitted to the world his “program” has no value. Kids are not as dumb as some people would like to think. If something seems fishy they will avoid it. Marxists who push this garbage know that too. Thats why they need it FORCED!

  • Jack

    “…told board members that making the courses elective would essentially kill the program. The move would eliminate student incentive to enroll in the classes, he said…”

    In other words the morons taking these give away classes are not as concerned with the subject as they are with an easy passing grade.

    This is a bald faced admission that these courses are worthless.

  • sam

    I teach English Literature at a New York college–I have seen it all. Anything that is NOT English or European has automatic approval. Albany State just god rid of Italian, Russian, French and, I think, Classics. Spanish is still there and we all know why. Black studies is still there and we all know why. At least many of us have remained untainted by this evil.

  • Anonymous

    What’s especially horrible is that Mexican studies is taken to satisfy the AMERICAN HISTORY and GOVERNMENT classes (social studies). Incredible. We won’t have to worry about natural-born citizens — even U.S. kids from Tucson, if elected president, won’t know the US’s past or have allegiance to it.