Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Sponsored by the California Faculty Association, San Diego Chapter & MEChA
The California Faculty Association, San Diego Chapter will host a delegation from the Arizona’s “Save Ethnic Studies” organization on Wednesday, March 16, 2011, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., as part of the “Save Ethnic Studies” California State University tour. The “Save Ethnic Studies” presentations will include an overview of the work that Critical Raza Educators in Tucson public schools are doing and describe the struggle these educators are waging against Arizona’s legislative attacks on academic freedom and cultural competence in Arizona’s education system. It will also provide a context for related issues that are currently occurring in California.
For the past four years, Tom Horne, the Superintendent of Arizona public schools and the Arizona State Legislature have relentlessly attacked the Tucson Unified School District’s (TUSD) Mexican American Studies Department (MASD). Through their repressive attitudes and regressive agenda, they have described Mexican American Studies classes as “…promoting the overthrow of the United States government…promoting resentment toward a race or class of people…designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group; and advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” On May 11, 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, signed into law AZ HB 2281, the Anti-Ethnic Studies Law, which in effect eliminated TUSD’s MASD on December 31, 2010. These attitudes also contribute to the development hostile environments that foment hate and the type of violence that resulted in the January 9, 2011 shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the deaths of several other civically engaged individuals in Tucson.
A major provision of AZ HB 2281 calls for the withholding of 10% of the State of Arizona’s monthly allotment to TUSD if MASD continues to teach Mexican/Chicano Studies classes. Eleven Critical Raza Educators have formed the “Save Ethnic Studies” campaign, which will serve collective plaintiffs (independent from the TUSD) in filing an injunction in Federal District Court to stop AZ HB 2281 from going into effect. As a consequence, Raza Educators are embarking on a national education and fundraising campaign to raise consciousness and resources for “Save Ethnic Studies Defense Fund” to defeat AZ HB 2281.
The implications for academia are numerous, including reducing academic freedom, cultural incompetence and institutional microaggression against people of Mexican descent, which could lay the foundation for the elimination of other diverse ethnic and multicultural studies classes, programs and departments throughout the U.S. These attitudes also contribute hostile environments that promote hate and violence.
“Save Ethnic Studies” presentations include:
Information about the work of Critical Raza Educators.
The Raza Studies educational Framework, which has been published several times in peer reviewed educational journals.
An overview of Critical Raza Educators’ comprehensive courses that are provided in high schools (during the 2010-2011 academic year MASD will teach 43 sections of Chicano Studies classes that will reach 1,336 students. These courses fulfill the high school graduation requirement, which includes American History/Chicano Perspectives, American Government/Social Justice Education Project, Senior English/Chicano Literature, Junior English/Chicano Literature, and Chicana/o Art) Middle schools (Chicano Studies classes at five sites), and elementary schools (Chicano Studies curriculum integration at 10 sites).
An update on Arizona’s legislative attacks.