The school board of the Tucson Unified school district won’t join a lawsuit filed in federal court by Tucson teachers challenging the constitutionality of a new state law banning courses that promote solidarity among a particular ethnic group. Instead, the school board plans to file an appeal with the state of Arizona regarding the state’s determination that its courses in Mexican-American studies violate the new state law.
The school board has passed a resolution supporting the courses and saying they are in compliance with the new state law. Teachers of the courses and the administrator for Tucson Unified’s Mexican-American studies program, however, are taking the approach that the law violates the U.S. Constitution.
A sad note related to this issue is that the federal judge who was expected to review the federal case on ethnic studies was John M. Roll, one of the six people killed during the attack on Jan. 8 on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson. Richard M. Martinez, the lawyer representing the Tucson teachers and administrator who filed the lawsuit against the ethnic-studies ban, commended the judge for his fairness in comments to the New York Times in an article published soon after the shooting.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.