By: Kirsten West Savali, Your Black World
The Tucson’s Unified School District has been battling to protect their ethnic studies curriculum which offers specialized courses in Mexican-American, African-American and Native-American studies.
With former Republican State Schools Chief Tom Horne claim that the program promotes “ethnic chauvinism” and teaches Latino students that they are “oppressed” by white people obviously influencing the decision, Judge Lewis Kowal ruled Tuesday that the program violates state law, agreeing with the findings of Arizona's current public schools chief, John Huppenthal.
On May 11th, 2010, Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a measure that prohibits classes that “advocate ethnic solidarity among Latinos and promotes resentment toward white people.” In addition, it is alleged by conservative opposition that the curriculum is designed primarily “for one ethnic group and promoting racial resentment, instead of treating students as individuals.” Huppenthal agreed after he inherited his position Horne, and Kowal’s ruling strikes a blow to educational equality in the state.
Kowal will withhold ten percent of the district’s funding, or approx 15 million dollars, if it does not comply. He claims that while the court encourages diversity, the Mexican-American classes specifically were incendiary.
" …teaching oppression objectively is quite different than actively presenting material in a biased, political and emotionally charged manner [against white people], which is what occurred in [Mexican-American Studies] classes," Kowal wrote.
In a written statement, Huppenthal, a Republican, said that he is, of course, satisfied with the judge’s decision”
"In the end, I made a decision based on the totality of the information and facts gathered during my investigation – a decision that I felt was best for all students in the Tucson Unified School District." he wrote.
The Tucson curriculum encouraged cultural self-identification of U.S. ethnic students who, generally, read about themselves only as oppressed. To abolish this program, which is also available to the white students the school district is trying to protect, is doing them a grave disservice.
Because one day, they are going to have to dwell in the real world outside of Arizona, where people don’t have to present their freedom papers just because they look different, and education is not filtered and diluted for those committed to preserving a fallacious version of United States history.