Arizona passed a state law that bans schools from teaching classes designed to promote solidarity among students of a foreign ethnic group. This law bans classes that "promote the overthrow of the United States government" or "promote resentment toward a race or class of people" because schools should treat all pupils as individual Americans. The issue arose because the Tucson School District offers courses in Mexican-American studies (known locally as Raza Studies) that focus on that particular group and its influence.
Arizona's Superintendent of Public Instruction says the basic theme of the Mexican-American studies program is that Latino students "were and continue to be victims of a racist American society." Among the goals listed for the Mexican-American Studies are "social justice" and "Latino Critical Race Pedagogy." Pictures of the classroom showed the walls decorated with "heroes" such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.
Tucson also offers courses especially for African-American and Native-American students. These classes obviously divide the student population by race, a practice we thought was not supposed to be tolerated any more.
The state of Arizona requires students to take a course in American history in order to graduate, but Ward said this course is not about American history; it's really foreign propaganda masquerading as American history. It focuses solely on the history of the Aztec people, which is the group to which Mexican-American activists ascribe their lineage. Others criticize the books used in these courses because they refer to Americans as "Anglos" or "Euroamericans" rather than as "Americans." The books do not recognize the United States as a country, but claim Arizona is part of "Aztlan, Mexico" (even though the Aztecs never lived in what is now the United States).
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