This January, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal told the Tucson School District to end its Mexican-American studies program or lose $15 million in annual state aid under a new law banning ethnic studies programs.

Passed in May of last year, Arizona HB 2281 prohibits school districts and charter schools in the state from offering any classes that “promote the overthrow of the U.S. government,” “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” or “advocate for ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

Tucson teachers have credited the “Mexican American/Raza Studies” program with reducing dropout rates, discipline problems, poor attendance and failure rates among Latino students. Tucson school board member Adelita Grijalva, who describes the courses as history with a Mexican-American perspective, argues that the new law provides no due process and is unconstitutional. “People of color in the state of Arizona are under attack,” she tells CNN. “We’re basically going from one battle to the next.”

In an effort to save the program, educators have filed suit in federal district court against Governor Jan Brewer, the Arizona State Board of Education and the Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  They allege that HB 2281 violates equal protection, free speech, and due process protections.

Read more, including a copy of the complaint, here: http://www.saveethnicstudies.org/index.shtml.

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