Saturday, June 15, 2024

Arizona Court Upholds Law Banning Mexican-American Studies

mexican studies
An Arizona court ruled last week that a state law banning the Mexican-American Studies (MAS) curriculum is constitutional.

The ruling was perceived as a partial defeat for groups advocating in favor of the curriculum and those who had hoped the court would overturn the 2010 law.

“I was really surprised at the decision,” said Jose Gonzalez, a former teacher of MAS. “But as a student and teacher of history, I know in civil rights cases like this there’s [sic] always setbacks.”

The experimental Tucson curriculum included classes that focused on Mexican-American literature and perspectives, with supporters pointing at a University of Arizona study that showed that MAS had a strong correlation with increased graduation rates, while also finding further support in a state-commissioned curriculum audit that found the classes kept students engaged and expanded teaching opportunities.

Those against MAS charged that the curriculum promoted left-wing ideas and created resentment against white people.

In 2010, the Arizona state legislature approved a law that banned classes that are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or that advocate ethnic solidarity to the expense of promoting the treatment of all students as equals. On March 8, 2013, Federal Judge Wallace Tashima said the plaintiffs did not show that the law was excessively vague, discriminatory or that it directly conflicted with the students’ first amendment rights.

Latino activist and writer Tony Diaz said the court “failed our youth, our culture and freedom of speech” by upholding the MAS ban.

“[W]e remain inspired by the youth of Tucson, the teachers, the families, the activists who will appeal this unjust ruling and continue the struggle to the Supreme Court,” Diaz said.

The Huffington Post
The New York Times