A new bill, Arizona HB 2281, which became effective Jan. 1, 2011, was aimed at the popular and successful Mexican American studies program (also known as MAS or La Raza studies) in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD). The bill outlaws courses that “promote the overthrow” of the government, “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” or “designed primarily for people of a particular ethnic group”.
Tom Horne, who wrote the bill and was the state superintendent of schools found that the Tucson ethnic studies program were in violation of the new law. Tucson teachers and students filed an appeal of his decision. When a state-commissioned audit was done the results found the MAS program actually was in compliance with the new law.
However, the new supervisor of the MAS program, appointed by the TUSD superintendent, has reassigned La Raza teachers to other courses, reduced their course offerings, and accused the Chicano/a student group MECHA in Tucson of being unpatriotic and anti-Semitic.
Before summer break, students, teachers and supporters were engaged in civil disobedience and other protests. They are working toward saving La Raza studies and its high standards for public schools.
Article Title: Ethnic Studies Elicits “Cult” Charge
Source: Freedom Socialist Party/ October 2011
Author: Monica Hill
Student Researcher: Claire Lueders, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Daniel Malcipa, Sonoma State University