Teachers Set To Sue Over Arizona’s Ethnic Studies Ban

By Mary Ann Zehr — October 19, 2010 1 min read
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Teachers are poised to file a lawsuit challenging Arizona’s law that targets the teaching of ethnic studies in public schools, according to the Associated Press.

In December, a new law goes into effect that bans public schools in Arizona from teaching ethnic studies that are designed for a particular ethnic or racial group, promote ethnic solidarity, or foster resentment toward a certain ethnic or racial group. Tom Horne, Arizona’s superintendent of public instruction, has contended publicly that ethnic studies in the Tucson Unified School District match that description and should be shut down. I visited the Tucson Unified school system and wrote about the controversy in September. Educators there say ethnic-studies courses make the school curriculum more relevant for Mexican-American students and are open to any student. I mentioned in that story that teachers from Tucson Unified expected to file a lawsuit challenging the law this month.

Horne put out a press release yesterday saying the Tucson-based Coalición de Derechos Humanos would file the lawsuit against the law targeting ethnic studies. He said that group is as “radical” as the ethnic studies courses it seeks to protect. Horne wrote that “this legal action proves they wish to preserve a program that segregates students based on ethnicity and which treats people as exemplars of their race as opposed to treating everyone as individuals.”

Horne, by the way, is running as the Republican candidate for state attorney general.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.