A few days after signing Arizona Senate Bill 1070, Arizona governor, Jan Brewer signed HB 2281. Republican legislators have introduced and passed legislation that threatens to bring about the demise of all ethnic studies programs throughout states public high schools. Arizona legislators have been adding one layer after another to criminalize immigrants and eliminating programs that teach students to think critically and become stakeholders in their communities is part of their larger plan. State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, State Senator Russell Pearce and their allies have set their sights on Mexican American Studies since 2006. One Arizona legislator has even boasted that their next step is to do away with ethnic studies from the state's major universities.
After December 31, 2010, HB 2281 intends to push out “out-of-compliance” ethnic studies programs and under vague interpretations that label their educational content as “promoting resentment toward a class of people,” and “promoting the overthrow of the U.S. government.” As ridiculous as these claims seem, state legislators have designed HB 2281 to strip elected local school boards of their governing and decision-making powers. Once enacted, this legislation empowers one man- Tom Horne- to seek out violations. It permits him to impose severe fines on school districts that incorporate ethnic studies curriculums. Although, Horne has steadfastly refused to set foot into a TUSD Mexican American Studies classroom or discuss the curriculum and learning process with students, he has publicly stated that this program will be his first target.
As AZ Superintendent for the last 8 years Tom Horne has been the most anti-Latino public official in AZ. He supported SB 1070, killed bilingual education, propose legislation that targeted educators with strong foreign accents, and cited schools for providing education to undocumented students. He was elected to the position of Attorney General in November 2010 and found TUSD's Mexican-American Studies program illegal 3 hours before leaving office.
View Tom Horne's Finding.
View CNN video Ethnic studies ban racist? - May 12, 2010.
John Huppenthal was elected to the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction in November of 2010. He ran on a campaign promise to “Stop La Raza”. He will continue Tom Horne's legacy and has embraced his finding.
In a January 3, 2011 meeting at the Tucson High Auditorium Dr. Pedicone told the 11 TUSD educators that if the 10% budget cut comes he will shut down the Mexican-American Studies program. have been no pro-active measures to stop the 10% budget cut from occurring.
View Arizona Daily Star article Ethnic-studies teachers in TUSD file own suit Board won't challenge law.
Dr. Stegeman has been a consistent vote against the Mexican-American Studies program. He joined the anti-ethnic studies group TU4SD in asking for a “review” of the program. The program has been reviewed in the past and this call is a mean spirited attempt to continue to burden and scrutinize the program. Dr. Stegeman also voted for the TUSD resolution that TUSD would comply with HB 2281; an unconstitutional law. Dr. Stegeman had no support from the minority members of the TUSD board who have been constant supporters of the Mexican-American studies program.
Board Member Michael Hicks has made repeated comments against the Mexican-American Studies program. He won in November of 2010 and was a tea party backed candidate. Mr. Hicks first action on the board was to nominate Dr. Mark Stegeman (see above) for Board President.
TU4SD claims to be a neutral organization asking for a simple review of the Mexican-American Studies program. The request for a “review panel” is flawed and represents a presumption of guilt. The persons behind this request appear to have forgotten that one is innocent until proven guilty. The process suggested will subject the Mexican-American studies teachers to a process that no other teacher in the District will be subjected to. In addition, the board would be ignoring the originators of the bill.
The TUSD school board unanimously passed a resolution on 12/30/2010 stating that TUSD would comply with HB2281; an unconstitutional law.
- “Ethnic-studies teachers in TUSD file own suit
Board won't challenge law”
Arizona Daily Star • January 14, 2011 • By Alexis Huicochea
- “Move comes as Horne deems program illegal
Huppenthal sets own review of TUSD's ethnic studies”
Arizona Daily Star • January 4, 2011 • By Alexis Huicochea
- “... and have a happy new year”
AzCapitolTimes.com • December 16, 2010 • By Yellow Sheet Report
- After 4 years of going on a witch hunt of the Mexican American Studies program at TUSD Tom Horne can only provide very superficial “evidence” of his claims. He includes testimony of disgruntled employees as “evidence.” He stresses that the Mexican American Studies program at TUSD is in violation of subsections 3 and 4 of HB 2281. This is a lie. The program has never separated students by race. He states that the classes do not reflect site demographics but if you look at the sites they are very close to actually doing that. These classes teach democracy not resentment. Tom Horne would know this if he'd ever actually stepped foot in a classroom. He has refused to do so.
read pdf of “Final Supplement to Open Letter to Tucson”...
HOUSE BILL 2281