Tucson ends Mexican-American studies

Jan. 11, 2012 at 5:51 PM
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TUSCON, Ariz., Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Tuscon Unified School District board voted to suspend its controversial Mexican-American studies program, officials say.

The program was immediately suspended after a 4-1 vote Tuesday.

Arizona officials had declared the program illegal and threatened to cut 10 percent of the state's funding to the district until it came into compliance. Such a cut would have amounted to $14 million by the end of the fiscal year, The Arizona Republic reported.

Arizona Schools Chief John Huppenthal found the program illegal on the grounds that it violated the Ethnic Studies Law, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2011. The law bans classes designed for students of a particular ethnic background, or that promote ethnic solidarity rather than individualism.

Huppenthal, who wrote the law while he was a state senator, claimed Mexican-American studies encouraged racial disharmony by depicting whites as "oppressors" of Mexican-Americans throughout history, rather than teaching events objectively.

The Arizona Daily Star reported students enrolled in the program would be transferred to other classes.

The board agreed to create a comprehensive social studies program covering additional ethic groups to replace the Mexican-American studies program.

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