TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson Unified School District has insisted repeatedly that its ethnic studies program does not violate the terms of Arizona's new law placing restrictions on such courses. Are those statements true? A closer look at TUSD's teaching materials casts doubt on some of TUSD's denials. But even so, that does not answer the larger question of whether students have a right to study the material or whether Arizona has a right to stop them.
Arizona House Bill 2281 has led to student and teacher protests and threats of lawsuits, and has drawn sharp criticism from United Nations human rights experts. The backlash erupted even though the measure does not ban ethnic studies programs outright. Instead, it places restrictions on them. Specifically, schools cannot present instructional material that advocates the overthrow of the U.S. government, promotes resentment toward any race or class of people or advocates ethnic solidarity. Nor can schools design courses for pupils of any particular ethnic group. TUSD insists that its program does none of those things and has said it will make no changes in the course.
What are the facts?
9 on Your Side took a closer look. One of the textbooks that TUSD uses in its ethnic studies program is Chicano!, by F. Arturo Rosales. The book teaches the history of racism and oppression in the United States directed against the Mexican, Mexican-American, and Hispanic populations. As the name implies, a large portion of the textbook is devoted to the Chicano movement that sprang up to fight social injustice and to push for civil rights. There are some similarities between the Chicano movement tactics that the book documents and the tactics some TUSD students have practicing recently.
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