Arizona Mainstream Project, an organization dedicated to the education of the public on matters of special interest, hosted a seven member panel discussion that delved into the controversial La Raza (ethnic studies) program on September 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Members of the panel included Attorney General Tom Horne, and a representative from State Superintendant John Huppenthal’s office, Andy LeFevre, President of the Arizona Latino Republican Association Rey Torres, Congressional candidate Gabriela Saucedo Mercer, educator Lisa Ruth, and educator Loretta Hunnicutt..
Topics that were covered during the three hour long discussion were historical context, understanding controversy, the significance of Tucson being on the frontline, current legal battles, and looking beyond the course into our communities.
Currently, the Tucson Unified School District has appealed a ruling that found them to be in violation of 3 out of 4 stipulations in state law HB 2281 which states in section 15-112:
“A. A school district or charter school in this state shall not include in its program of instruction any courses or classes that include any of the following:
- Promote the overthrow of the United States Government.
- 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 students as individuals.”
TUSD was found to be in violation once by former State Superintendant Tom Horne, and then again on the same grounds by current State Superintendant John Huppenthal. Rather, than comply with State law, the school district has filed an appeal, and is not showing any signs of willingness to comply.
At stake is the loss of $15 million education dollars to the district, which could result in teacher lay offs. The entire district (students, teachers, and community members) will suffer because of the TUSD School District leadership’s refusal to adhere to state law.
An interesting fact that was brought up during the panel discussion is that the classes that are being taught are NOT based in historical fact, but rather, are the ideology based on a mythical claim that the Southwest United States was stolen from the Chicano people and is in fact, a “promised land” referred to as Aztlan. This claim has given birth to other radical groups that have branched out from the parent group, La Raza. One of the groups that are in support of these questionable classes is a group known as Mecha. Mecha has been classified by some to be a radical, racist group that is opposed to American ideologies.
The students of these classes are being taught not to integrate in American society by using teaching methods and course literature that contains Marxist/Leninist overtones all under the guise of free speech. Students as young as third grade level are being introduced to these doctrines.
No word has been said on the outcome of the appeal, and no indication has come from TUSD that if the appeal is ruled in favor of the law, they will comply.
To read the basis of the Chicano/La Raza Movement that is spreading throughout the United States, with the support of Mexico please go to: http://www.utpa.edu/orgs/mecha/St_Barbara.html.
To view the entire panel discussion go to: www.arizonamainstreamproject.org.
This is the first in a series of articles outlining the facts and myths surrounding the La Raza/Chicano Movement in the United States and its impact on your community.