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Arizona Judge Rules Ethnic Studies Violates State Law

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By Bianca Coombs, Christian Post Contributor
December 28, 2011|9:01 am

A Tucson Judge has ruled that an Arizona school’s ethnic studies program violates state law.

The Mexican-American studies program offered by the Tucson Unified School was viewed as a violation of state law by superintendent of public instruction John Huppenthal in June.

The law, which was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, seeks to do away with divisive ethnic studies programs which cater to one ethnic group or "promote resentment toward a race or class of people," according to The Los Angeles Times.

By October, all arguments and appeals were heard. Champions of the program argue that the studies offer a look into the Latino culture which is lacking in traditional American studies, whereas opponents of the program contest focusing on history through a racial lens believing it promotes division and ethnocentrism.

The state superintendent has said the program displays "ethnic chauvinism," according to The Huffington Post.

Tuesday Judge Lewis D. Kowal ruled in Huppenthal’s favor. The ruling, though, is being called a “mere recommendation” by The L.A. Times. But the state superintendent may take action against the ethnic studies program should it fail to abide by the law. The program could lose funding and the district itself may lose up to $15 million.

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After the controversial Arizona Immigration law was passed, ethnic policies have been in the limelight in the state. The Huffington Post reported in June that a more hidden policy on ethnic education programs was brought to light by the Wall Street Journal.

The report revealed the Arizona Department of Education has advised schools to disallow teachers with “heavy” accents or “ungrammatical” ways of speaking from teaching English classes.

In another suit regarding the ethnic studies law, 11 teachers and two students from the district have sued over the law, calling it unconstitutional and requesting an injunction. A federal judge in Tucson has yet to rule on this case.

 

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