In January of this year, the Tucson Unified School District MAS (Mexican American Studies) program was elimited. Back in February 2012, Peter Rothberg opened his article titled “Challenging Arizona’s Ban on Ethnic Studies” in The Nation explaining:
In January 2011, Arizona state Attorney General Tom Horne declared the Tucson Unified School District MAS (Mexican American Studies) program illegal. This despite the curriculum’s astonishing success in graduating 100 percent of its students from high school and obtaining college placement for 82 percent of its alumni.
Over the past year, teachers, students and administrators have come together to challenge Horne’s ruling, but on this past January 10, the TUSD school board voted four to one to immediately cease all MAS classes.
The following video, uploaded to YouTube in October 2011, documents the battle between Tom Horne (Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction) and the students and teachers involved with the ethnic studies program:
On a related note, this next video was released in January 2012 to introduce the campaign “Librotraficante”:
This Tursday, May 17, a documentary on the ban will premier on PBS, as Erwin C. reports in The Latin Americanist. You can watch the trailer on Vimeo:
Erwin provides more context on this documentary and the ongoing debate on ethnicity in the state of Arizona:
Arizona has become a key state in the often-acrimonious discussion over illegal immigration, particularly with respect to the controversial S.B. 1070 immigration law. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to render a verdict next month on the legality of the statute though that decision might do little to change other debates in Arizona related to race and ethnicity.
“Precious Knowledge” is a documentary that focuses on the contentious fight over Mexican American studies programs in Arizona public schools. Last January, for example, Tuscon education officials dropped Mexican-American Studies courses due to supposed promotion of ethnic resentment. As noted in this article from Fox News Latino, however, such actions have allegedly created “a web of censorship and confusion (that) has entangled the city’s public schools”.