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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 01/10/2011

Latino studies program in Tucson declared illegal

By Valerie Strauss

An Arizona state official has declared that an ethnic studies program on Latino culture is illegal under a new law that went effect on Jan. 1.

The official is Tom Horne, the newly elected state attorney general who wrote the law last year when he was Arizona’s education superintendent.

District officials say they aren’t breaking the law, and a group of teachers has filed suit challenging the law, which prohibits any classes that:

* Promote the overthrow of the United States government, including any suggestion that any U.S. lands once part of Mexico be returned.
* Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.
* Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.
* Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.

Horne insists that the program violates all four tenets of the law; the district says that’s nonsense.

Horne started blasting the program several years ago after learning that Hispanic civil right activist Dolores Herta told Tucson high school students that “Republicans hate Latinos.” When he sent a top aide to a school to present a different view, some of the students turned their backs on her and raised their fists in the air, angering Horne, The New York Times reported.

For three years he pushed the legislature to pass a law banning the program, and finally succeeded in 2010, when it was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer. At the time the state was making national news for a tough crackdown on illegal immigration that remains a highly controversial issue.

In his final hours as superintendent late last week, he said he had decided that the program in the Tucson Unified School District violated the new law, which gives a 60-day period for the system to fix the problem.

However, Horne said the only way to do that was to scrap the program altogether, and if school officials refuse, the school district should lose 10 percent of its state funding, which amounts to almost $15 million.

The state’s new education superintendent supports Horne’s position.

According to The Arizona Republic, the Mexican-American studies program includes high-school class work about historical and contemporary Mexican-American contributions, social justice and stereotypes. Students may examine U.S. history from a Chicano perspective.

The program was first adopted as part of a desegregation order, which stemmed from a 1974 federal lawsuit by an African-American couple alleging racial bias. The Tucson school district started an African-American studies program and added Mexican-American studies in 1997.

The desegregation order was lifted in 2007 but the ethnic-studies programs were a key part of the settlement and they remained in place.

It is not clear, the Republic said, whether the new law will affect other programs or other school districts.

Horne didn’t say anything about any of those.


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By Valerie Strauss  | January 10, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  History  | Tags:  arizona schools, ethnic studies program, ethnic studies program declared illegal, latino studies, mexican-american studies program, tom horne, tucson schools  
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It must be something in the water.

Posted by: RickJohnson621 | January 10, 2011 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Segregating history has no place in our schools. If there are holes, then let's fix them. If there are omissions, then we should include them. We must assure inclusion and that means everyone who played a roll in the development of the U.S. I agree on that part.

If it is state history, then by all means make sure those folks are recognized. I don't hear special classes for German-American decendents, or Italian Americans, etc.

Posted by: jbeeler | January 10, 2011 7:56 AM | Report abuse

If the "Latinos" want to study Mexican history, let them do it on their own time and dime. This is America, whether they like it or not.

American history is about 1000 times more interesting and significant to world affairs any way you look at it, anyhow.

Santa Anna is still a villain, in my book.

Remember the Alamo!!

Posted by: battleground51 | January 10, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

How about a course comparing Latino history to US history? In spite of hundreds of millions of dollars of US aid, Latin America continues to be awash in poverty. An 8th grade education is the norm in most of Latin America, while 13 years of education is the minimum standard in the USA. Crime grows exponentially every year in Latin America, while crime is decreasing in the USA. Mexico is completely out of control. Assassinations of government leaders are commonplace. Environmental pollution is overwhelming. Mexico City is covered in smog more than half the year. The economy and crime are so bad in El Salvador that 28% of their population lives in the USA.

Yes, teach Latino history.

Posted by: postisarag | January 10, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

No blacks, no whites, no yellows, no reds are allowed to take LaRaza studies in which the principle text book used is Marxist dogma written by a LaRaza revolutionary and the courses are taught using tax payer dollars.

That is blatant discrimination. Where's Holder and the ACLU upholding the laws of this land against discrimination?

Once again, the Democrats and Obama's Adminsitration ignore their Constituional Oaths of Office.

Posted by: Patriot12 | January 10, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

The first report of the attempted assasination of Rep. Giffords appeared on the New York Times web page as I was reading that Arizona has outlawed Latino studies courses because of the absurd idea that these classes advocate ethnic solidarity over individuality and national pride. Across the border in Acapulco, Mexico the bodies of 28, 15 of them decapitated, were reported discovered in the war to profit most from the insatiable thirst for drugs in the US.

Val, we are in uncharted waters today in the United States of America. It cannot be understood by looking back at our history. The domestic politics of the 1960's, 1930's, or the 1850's is of no use. The better of history's guides is to study the end of empires and the passing of great powers.

Posted by: natturner | January 10, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I encourage you to contact Tom Horne and ask for copies of the Ethnic Study curriculum. Unfortunately what was being taught in the class was La Raza indoctrination. Advocating the ethnic cleansing of one race and the violent overthrow of our current government. Definitely not information any rational American would want taught in publicly funded schools. Ethnic studies was offered the option of videotaping all classes for monitoring content but the TUSD declined. You might ask TUSD why.

No one would terminate a legitimate ethnic study class. Yet teaching hatred and advocating violence toward another race is never acceptable. Please note this was not just one man's opinion. The new AZ school superintendent after careful review of Tom Horne's documentation reaffirmed Tom Horne's decision to shut this racist curriculum down.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | January 10, 2011 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Where do I start? Most of the comments here are obviously from Racist, self-seeking and ignorant individuals living in fear that someday an ethnic group other than "ANGLO SAXXONS’s" will run this country. Guess what? History repeats and it's inevitable! You will reap what you SOW.

How soon you forget the atrocities your ancestors inflicted on the Native Americans who inhabited and took care of this land. The Mexicans are just an extension of those peoples--many are Native American.

But you do have a choice. You can be in acceptance of the Great Spirits will and embrace the change with an open mind. Or you can continue a campaign of hatred, suspicion and denial and see what that get's you in the end.

The new generations of Americans are people of mixed races and ethnicities. They will scrutinize history and what is being taught to their children. They will not be in denial about who did what to whom. The truth shall set us free. You shouldn't fear the truth coming to light--we can accept it for what it is. It's withholding the truth that creates anger and resentment--forcing people to believe that your way is the only right way.

Do you know how many Native born Texans died defending the Alamo? Do you know how many of those were Mexicans? All Six native born Texans were Mexican but you’ll be hard pressed to find their names in our current US History…Wake up and smell the Café. Better yet--relax and enjoy it.

Posted by: alexcoss | January 11, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Keep telling that history:

Now you can read the greatest fictionalized 'historical novel', Rescue at Pine Ridge, the first generation of Buffalo Soldiers. The website is; This is the greatest story of Black Military History...5 stars Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Youtube commercials are: and

Rescue at Pine Ridge is the story of the rescue of the famed 7th Cavalry by the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers. The 7th Cavalry got their butts in a sling again after the Little Big Horn Massacre, fourteen years later, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. If it wasn't for the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, there would of been a second massacre of the 7th Cavalry. This story is about, brutality, compassion, reprisal, bravery, heroism and gallantry.

I know you’ll enjoy the novel. I wrote the story that embodied the Native Americans, Outlaws and African-American/Black soldiers, from the south to the north, in the days of the Native American Wars with the approaching United States of America.

The novel was taken from my mini-series movie with the same title, “RaPR” to keep the story alive. Hollywood has had a lot of strikes and doesn’t like telling our stories…its been “his-story” of history all along…until now. The movie so far has attached, Bill Duke directing, Hill Harper, Glynn Turman, James Whitmore Jr. and a host of other major actors in which we are in talks with.

When you get a chance, also please visit our Alpha Wolf Production website at; and see our other productions, like Stagecoach Mary, the first Black Woman to deliver mail for the US Postal System in Montana, in the 1890's, “spread the word”.


Posted by: awprods | January 13, 2011 2:36 AM | Report abuse

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