Tucson Grapples With Ethnic Studies Ban

Judy Hartnett's picture
Monday, February 27, 2012

The Arizona Department of Education gave the Tucson Unified School District an ultimatum: Eliminate all ethnic studies courses or face massive financial sanctions.

The district was found out of compliance by the state of Arizona according to HB 2281, which orders districts in the state to stop teaching courses that promote ethnic solidarity. The district’s Mexican-American studies courses came under fire in early January 2012 after a review by the department of education. In a swift decision made days after the state ruled their program was out of compliance, the TUSD school board voted to eliminate all Mexican-American studies classes and associated books on Jan. 10.

“The approved motion required that district staff revise the core social studies curriculum to increase its coverage of Mexican-American history and culture and to provide a balanced view of diverse viewpoints on controversial issues,” said TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone in a letter to parents in the district on Jan. 12. “It is important to know that this decision was difficult and not without consequences.”

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