TUSD Ethnic Studies fight

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For over a decade, the Mexican-American program at TUSD has held a summer conference full of information on the Ethnic Studies courses the district provides.

The 12th year of its existence, could very well be its most important.

"Tucson in my estimation has always been a very progressive city, a city that continues to move forward despite so many different opinions up in the legislature," says Raul Aguirre, REA Communications.

The Mexican-American studies program of TUSD is kicking off its 4-day Institute for Transformative Education. It held a press conference Monday to address some of legal issues facing the program this year.

"This law truly does not apply to the teachings of ethnic studies in TUSD."

The law he's referring to is House Bill 2281, that will ban ethnic studies from being taught in the classroom.
And some say it's a good thing, "We just don't want hate taught in our schools, we don't want revolution taught in our schools."

19-year-old Crystal Terriquez has taken the Ethnic Studies classes, and she says nothing of the sort is being taught, "They say we're creating that segregation because we're learning about Mexican-American or learning about African-American and it's something totally different if you walk into these classrooms we have from African-Americans, Anglo-American, Pan-Asian and it's open to everybody."

For a normally quiet conference during school's summer break, organizers were having to defend themselves and their district against a law set to go into effect late this year.

"We build bridges of cultural understanding, we highlight Mexican-American contributions to this country, and that's very important for all students to know," Martin Sean Arce

Others agree, but think it shouldn't stop there, "I do think that if your gonna teach cultural things that you need to teach everyone's culture, be fair to everybody."

Arizona Superintendent Tom Horne says he will look to cut 10% of TUSD's budget if they proceed with the classes.

TUSD says they will appeal if they are told to stop the courses.