Teachers in Arizona opposed to a new law that targets the Tucson Unified School District’s ethnic studies program are suing to overturn the measure, according to The Washington Post.
The lawsuit, which claims state law HB 2281 violates at least two constitutional amendments, names outgoing state schools superintendent Tom Horne and the entire State Board of Education as defendants.
No More Ethnic Studies?
As Jessica Pieklo wrote here, last May Governor Jan Brewer signed into law this bill, which prohibits schools from offering courses at any grade level that advocate ethnic solidarity, promote overthrow of the US government, or cater to specific ethnic groups. That all sounds reasonable. But the effect of these regulations would be to dismantle the state’s popular Mexican-American studies program.
Politics Disguised As Education
It turns out that the bill was passed largely on account of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne’s personal distaste for the Tucson school district’s Chicano studies program. But with Horne, a Republican, currently running for Attorney General in Arizona, skeptics believe that this is yet another case of political maneuvering dressed up as education reform.
Tom Horne’s Response
Predictably, Horne has blasted the lawsuit, saying it is “fundamentally wrong to divide students up according to their racial group and teach them separately.”
Horne says he believes the Tucson school district’s Mexican-American studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people. He says public schools shouldn’t be encouraging students to resent a particular race.
More power to this group of teacher in Arizona who have joined forces to oppose Horne’s misguided and dangerous attempt to get rid of this ethnic studies program.
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