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Federal Court Requires Tucson's Ethnic Studies

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Mexican-American studies will return to classrooms in Tucson's secondary schools in the fall as part of the district's new plan to achieve greater racial balance in schools. A federal judge approved the plan this month.

But the battle over teaching ethnic studies in the 53,000-student district may still not be settled, even though U.S. District Judge David Bury has given the green light to the district's unitary-status plan, which is meant to bring an end to the decades-long desegregation effort in the Arizona city. A key part of that plan is to offer "culturally relevant" courses that focus on the history, experience, and culture of blacks and Latinos.

The district disbanded the popular Mexican-American studies program a year ago after state officials said the courses violated a state law that forbids public schools from using curriculum designed for a particular ethnic group, advocates ethnic solidarity, or promotes resentment toward a race or group of people.

Overall, the unitary-status plan for Tucson—to be put in place over the next four years—focuses on reducing discrimination in student assignment, discipline, and the quality of education offered.

Vol. 32, Issue 21, Pages 4-5

Published in Print: February 20, 2013, as Federal Court Requires Tucson's Ethnic Studies
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