Tom Horne Persists in Critique of Ethnic Studies in Tucson

By Mary Ann Zehr — November 04, 2009 1 min read
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In his latest move to try to get Tucson Unified School District to halt offering ethnic studies, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction has commissioned a study looking at the test scores of students who take the ethnic studies compared with Hispanics in the state who don’t.

The analysis of test scores found no significant effect of the courses on student performance on the state’s academic tests. Horne put out a press release saying the Arizona Department of Education conducted the study to examine claims by the school district that students who take the ethnic studies courses, which focus on Mexican-American history and culture, perform better on state tests than students who don’t.

The study compared the scores of 626 students who took the classes in Tucson last school year, compared with scores of Hispanics statewide. Eighty-five percent of students who took the ethnic studies classes were Hispanic. Fifteen percent were English-language learners. The Arizona Daily Star picked up on the study in an article published this week.

One thing I’ve learned about Horne over the years: If an educational issue is a concern for him, he will not give up in continuing to bring public attention to it.

I’m thinking about how he took the ELL funding issue in his state to the U.S. Supreme Court and how he sent his staff to the Mexican-U.S. border to gather video evidence that operators of a charter school were enrolling and transporting students who reside in Mexico across the border to attend school in the United States.

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