A new Arizona state law that bans classes "designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group" went into effect on January 1, 2011. This new law is a politically-motivated swipe at the Ethnic Studies program at the Tucson Unified School District, which teaches Mexican-American heritage to its largely Hispanic student body.
Tucson's popular "Raza studies" program investigates history, culture and stereotypes from a Chicano viewpoint. It's a supplement to, not a replacement for, other core subjects taught in the school district. It's been shown to increase school attendance, graduation rates and grades among the students who participate.
Former Arizona Schools Superintendent Tom Horne, who just became the state's Attorney General, is a partisan politician intentionally exploiting racial tensions in Arizona. On Dec. 30, 2010, he declared the "Raza studies" program illegal and is giving Tucson 60 days to stop the program. If they don't, 10 percent of the state's funding to the school district -- about $3 million a month -- will be withheld.
The Tucson school board, student activists, Ethnic Studies teachers and educators agree -- the Ethnic Studies program is a great asset to students in Arizona. Tell the state's Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education to overturn Horne's ruling and keep this valuable program running.