Federal District Court Judge A. Wallace Tashima has ruled on Tucson Unified School District’s (TUSD) appeal of the ban on the ethnocentric Mexican American Studies (MAS) Program, upholding the ban. The law was held to be constitutional, with one minor exception, Section (A)(3).
Judge Tashima said objections did not “meet the high threshold to establish a constitutional violation.” The 31-page ruling can be read here.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, was formerly the two-term elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction when this issue arose. Horne, who personally argued the case in U.S. District Court in Tucson, issued this statement after the decision was announced: “This is 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.” His complete statement can be read here. The order was enforced the last day of Horne’s term and enacted by incoming Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, whose name appears on the ruling. A search of his website lacked any press release regarding this defining issue for his office.
As Superintendent, Horne protested the program and was instrumental in passage of HB 2281 which “prohibits a school district or charter school from including courses or classes that either promote the overthrow of the United States government or promote resentment toward a race or class of people.” (Complete bill information here).
Interestingly, Horne had an unlikely ally in his efforts: The Arizona Republic. On Jan. 4, 2011, the newspaper ran an editorial rightfully calling the data used to buttress the claims “repeated constantly by [the program’s] defenders that students perform better academically as a result of taking ethnic studies classes and that they go on to college more often” — “academically unsupportable.” Further the newspaper stated that officials who make such claims “are acting irresponsibly in doing so.” The editorial goes so far as to say the results “appear rigged.”
Enforcement of the law resulted in cancellation of TUSD’s racially discriminatory Mexican-American Studies Program after an independent Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that the program presented material in a “biased, political, and emotionally charged manner.” The ALJ also stated: “Teaching in such a manner promotes social or political activism against white people, promotes racial resentment, and advocates ethnic solidarity instead of treating people as individuals.”
Readers can refresh their memories regarding this ongoing and radical saga here. Horne was killed in effigy by students as a thuggish mob of La Raza Studies supporters tried to shout down the Attorney General.