Court Upholds Ariz. Law Banning Ethnic Studies Classes

Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013 01:15 PM

By Alec Weisman

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A U.S. circuit court has upheld an Arizona law prohibiting ethnic studies courses in public schools, claiming it respects the authority of the state to monitor and oversee the education system.

The ruling was a blow to the Tucson Unified School District’s canceled Mexican American Studies program, which had filed the lawsuit in an attempt to overturn the ban on its classes, according to The Arizona Daily Star.

State Attorney General Tom Horne hailed the decision as “a victory for ensuring that public education is not held captive to radical, political elements and that students treat each other as individuals, not on the basis of the race they were born into.”

The law bans school districts and charter schools from teaching ethnic studies classes if the curriculum violates certain principles. Prohibited topics include advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government, creating resentment toward a race or class of people, promoting ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals, and if the classes are intended primarily for members of specific ethnic groups.

The Tucson program was twice found to have violated all of the criteria required for cancellation except the overthrow of the U.S. government, according to the Daily Star.

Meanwhile, the organization Save Ethnic Studies vowed to continue fighting the law, adding, “too much is at stake.”

The Tucson district has yet to announce whether it will ask the court to reconsider its decision or take the case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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