Feature: From the School House

Breaking: Huppenthal Forbids Mexican-American Studies In Tucson, Meeting Scheduled

Author: Tim Paynter
Published: February 05, 2011 at 12:29 pm

In late December, 2010, Arizona SB 2281 went into effect. The new law bans ethnic studies, thus putting an end to the study of cultural diversity in Arizona.  One of those classes is the Mexican American Studies Class in Tucson, which has provided great insight to both minority and non-minority students.

In response to the new law, a protest group has been set up by the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) Mexican American Studies Community Advisory Board. According to organizers, Mexican American Studies class informs and motivates students. Some of it's goals include: 

  • Working towards the invoking of a critical consciousness within each and every student; Promoting and advocating for social and educational transformation;
  • Promoting and advocating for the demonstration of respect, understanding, appreciation, inclusion, and love at every level of service.

However, newly elected Arizona Schools Superintendent John Huppenthal told the TUSD to halt classes or it would lose $15 million dollars in annual state funds. The threat breaks Huppenthal's promise to "Direct More Money Into the Classroom...too many of our education dollars are wasted on administrative bloat. More money needs to go directly to the classroom to support teachers." he says on his web page.

John Huppenthal from KVOA Photo

Huppenthal says the class violates SB 2281.  The TUSD disagrees and will sue.  If one side does not back down, the TUSD will spend more tax payer dollars in what Huppenthal called "wasted bloat" in court defending the basic rights of students to learn about the history of the Mexian-Americans who shaped a great part of Arizona.

According to the new law, the school has 60 days to comply.   Conservative voices say the SB 2281 is designed to promote unity and non-discriminatory practices.  Specifically, the law makes a class illegal if: 1. It promotes the overthrow of the United States; 2. Promotes resentment toward a race or class of people; 3. (Is) designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group; 4. Advocates ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."

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Article Author: Tim Paynter

Tim Paynter is an attorney and human rights activist based in Denver, Colorado. He is a tireless fighter for abused women, children at risk, those ravaged by poverty, and those fighting for dignity in the United States.

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