Studying Latino culture now illegal in Arizona

In Arizona schools, it’s apparently OK to study black culture, Asian culture and American Indian culture, but offer a class in Latino culture and you put your school district at risk of losing significant state funding, according to an article in today’s New York Times.

“It’s propagandizing and brainwashing that’s going on there,” Tom Horne, Arizona’s newly elected attorney general, said this week as he officially declared the program in violation of a state law that went into effect on January 1.

Horne was the state’s top education official prior to being elected attorney general in November. The new education chief supports Horne’s stand.

Most of the heat is being felt in the Tucson School District, which began adding ethnic studies programs in the 1970s after being sued for discrimination.

So far the District is holding firm, saying it will continue to offer the classes, even though doing so could cost it $15 million this year.

A new Arizona law bans some ethnic studies courses, while allowing others. Studies in Arizona have shown that children taking ethnic studies courses do better on testing than students who don’t take the classes.

A group of teachers has sued the state to reverse the law.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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