Hispanic History Banned in Arizona [VIDEO]
In a state already rife with immigration battles, Arizona is banning Mexican-American studies and other “ethnic” studies classes from being taught in high school. The law will go into effect on December 31st. The law will prohibit any classes that “promote the overthrow of the United States government … promote resentment toward a race or class of people … (or) advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treatment of pupils as individuals.” Any school that does not comply can have 10 percent of its funding withheld.
Educators dedicated to keeping a Hispanic perspective alive in high school curricula are fighting back. Eleven teachers from Tucson, Arizona, are suing the state board of eduction and superintendent this week, calling the new law “anti-Hispanic.”
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne defended the ban. “In the lawsuit, they claimed that this legislation constituted discrimination,” Horne told CNN. “It’s exactly backwards. The idea behind the legislation is that students need to treat each other as individuals … and not what race they were born into.” He further claims that the classes teach students that Arizona “is occupied territory that should be given back.”
This, however, seems far from the truth. Teacher Sally Rusk said she never taught that the Southwest should return to Mexico. “No, absolutely not,” she said. “This is the U.S. Do any of the textbooks advocate that? No! No!” Similarly, all of the students in an ethnic studies program at Pueblo High School in Tucson felt that the region is now rightly part of the U.S.
The classes educate students about social justice issues, not only American History. “It’s teaching us we can make a difference in this country,” said Olivia Payne, an African-American student at Pueblo High. “I don’t want this class to be taken away.”
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