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Arizona's Ban on Latinx Studies Heads to Court

(Teen Vogue)
Students in Tuscon, Arizona are in the process of suing the state for its passing of a 2010 law that dismantled a Mexican-American studies program that had proven results in enhancing Latinx students’ academic performance. As The Huffington Post reported, U.S District Judge A. Wallace Tashima will hear arguments over the next two weeks regarding the 2010 law that Arizona’s lawyers have described as a necessary means of stifling the growing anti-white sentiment supposedly fueled by classes in Latinx history and studies. Jim Quinn, a lawyer representing the students, countered that "this was an innovative program... it was snuffed out for all the wrong reasons." The trial happening now in Tuscon is the culmination of an almost two-decades-long saga of Latinx students and teachers struggling to see themselves represented in their public school system. Beginning in the late 1990s, a collection of mostly Mexican-American teachers started working toward closing the achievement gap between the white and Latinx students in their district. Building on the historical examples of education used as a radical means of racial and ethnic uplift, the teachers decided to teach classes that featured writing by Mexican-American authors as well as classic texts from Mexican-American perspectives.

The Huffington Post quoted Curtis Acosta, a teacher and one of the founders of the program, saying: "Many of my students would say it was the first time they saw themselves in the material." And this traditional – though no less radical – model began to show positive results, according to independent research led by University of Arizona professor Nolan Cabrera.
One could trace the origin of the trial to when Dolores Huerta, the civil rights leader and co-founder of the United Farm Workers, was invited to speak to Tuscon students in 2006. Huerta, who came to the school during a time characterized by contentious debate regarding America’s immigration policies, told the students that "Republicans hate Latinos.”" Tom Horne, the then-Tuscon Unified School District Superintendent, was angered when he heard of the speech and went to John Huppenthal, a state Senator at the time, to see about canceling the program.

For more, go to Teen Vogue

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