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Arizona Ethnic Studies Revisited

Teachers are suing the state of Arizona [1] to reinstate a controversial ethnic studies curricula that the state assembly cut off funding for earlier this year. “Eliminating a radical La Raza (‘The Race’) studies program in an Arizona public school district is unconstitutional and restricts free speech, according to a group of teachers who are suing the state to reinstate the taxpayer-financed curriculum that one instructor says ‘ignited racial hostility,’” Jim Kouri [2] reported in The Examiner. “The Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American/Raza Studies program was eliminated earlier this year when the state enacted a measure—HB 2281—to stop funding ethnic studies curriculums that advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government.”

“In 1998 the district created the Mexican American/Raza Studies division—renamed ‘Mexican-American Studies’ last year to sound less extremist –to promote the ‘Chicano agenda.’” Kouri also serves as the fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

“A few years ago a Hispanic history teacher in the district, John Ward,  denounced the curriculum’s biased theme [3]that Mexican-Americans continue to be victims of a racist American society driven by the interests of middle and upper-class whites,” Kouri reported. “Kids were taught that the southwestern United States was taken from Mexicans because of the insatiable greed of the Yankee who acquired values from the corrupted ethos of western civilization, the teacher wrote in a newspaper opinion piece obtained by Judicial Watch, a group devoted to investigating government corruption, according to officials at Judicial Watch.”

“Students also learned that California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Texas are really Aztlan, the ancient homeland of the Aztecs, and still rightfully belong to their descendants, people of indigenous Mexican heritage. Also, the former Tucson teacher said, students were told that few Mexicans took advanced high school courses because their ‘white teachers’ didn’t believe they were capable and wanted to prevent them from getting ahead.”

“The curriculum engendered racial irresponsibly, demeaned America’s civil institutions, undermined public servants, discounted any virtues in western civilization and taught disdain for American sovereignty, according the teacher who blew the whistle on the La Raza program. He also revealed that many of the instructors who taught the courses were not certified to teach.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia [4].

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org [5]