Glenn Beck is stoking fears that a Mexican-American studies program in Arizona segregates students and promotes "the overthrow of the U.S. government." School district officials say the program does not segregate students and reject claims that it violates state law that, among other things, prohibits teaching the overthrow of the United States government.
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Beck: Tucson Class "Separated People" By Race
Beck: "This Is A Class That Separated People. ... If You Were Mexican, You'd Go Into That Class." From Glenn Beck's radio show:
BECK: These students are angry, and they are pounding on the -- they've taking over the council chambers. And they're sitting where the council sits. And they are protesting that the class is being reconsidered. It's Mexican studies or whatever, and they want to restore it. This is a class that separated people, so you would be -- if you were Mexican, you'd go into that class. If you weren't, you would stay in the other. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 4/28/11]
FACT: Classes Are Open To Students Of All Races
NY Times: Classes Are "Open To Any Student" At Tucson School. The New York Times reported:
Although open to any student at Tucson High Magnet School, nearly all of those attending Curtis Acosta's Latino literature class on a recent morning were Mexican-American.
For all of that and more, Mr. Acosta's class and others in the Tucson Unified School District's Mexican-American program have been declared illegal by the State of Arizona -- even while similar programs for black, Asian and American Indian students have been left untouched. [The New York Times, 1/7/11]
Even A Critic Acknowledged That "The Mexican American Studies Program Is Not Populated Exclusively By Students Of Hispanic Background." Tom Horne, then the Arizona superintendent of public instruction, who has said that the program is illegal, wrote:
The Mexican American Studies program is not populated exclusively by students of Hispanic background. Other students attend the course. However, the percentage of students in the course that are of Hispanic background greatly exceeds their overall percentage in the relevant schools. [Finding by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction of Violation by Tucson Unified School District Pursuant to A.R.S. 15-112(B), 12/30/10]
La Prensa: Educators Say The "Classes Are Open To All Students." La Prensa San Diego reported in May 2010 that Arizona officials enacted a law "banning ethnic studies" and that:
The measure prohibits any school district from instructing classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment toward a race or advocate ethnic solidarity. But it doesn't ban classes as long as they are open to all groups of students.
Educators from the Unified Tucson District, which has run the K-12 program for the last 14 years, say they are in compliance with the law, that their classes are open to all students and their curriculum does not promote resentment. The program includes a variety of classes that focus on Mexican American history and literature. [La Prensa San Diego, 5/28/10, via Nexis]
Beck: Tucson School District Acknowledged The Classes Violate The Law
Beck: "According To Tucson Unified School District," The Class "Violated" The Law And Taught The "Overthrow Of The U.S. Government" And "Resentment Towards A Race." From Beck's radio show:
BECK: So, it -- apparently, this Mexican-American history class violated, according to the Tucson Unified School District: one, the overthrow of the U.S. government. You can't teach anything that teaches that. Two, resentment towards a race. Resentment towards a race being white people --
STU BURGUIERE [executive producer]: Or any race, right?
BECK: Or -- yeah, any race. But in this case, it's white people. And the third one is, you can't teach anything that's just for a particular ethnic group. OK?
PAT GRAY [co-host]: And it violates all those things.
BECK: It violates all of those things, and they want it back. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 4/28/11]
FACT: School District Actually Says The Program Complies With The Law
AZ Daily Star: District Is "Appealing A Finding That Its Mexican American Studies Program Is In Violation Of State Law." The Arizona Daily Star reported:
The Tucson Unified School District has laid out its argument for appealing a finding that its Mexican American Studies program is in violation of state law.
The finding, which was made by former Arizona schools chief Tom Horne, puts TUSD at risk of losing nearly $15 million annually if it does not come into compliance before the close of a 60-day period.
While TUSD requested that an administrative hearing occur as soon as possible, the hearing has yet to be scheduled. [Arizona Daily Star, 1/22/11]
NY Times: Tucson School Board Considers Program "To Be In Compliance With The Law." From The New York Times:
The battle means that Tucson, a struggling urban district, stands to lose nearly $15 million in an already difficult budget environment. So far, the school board has stood by the program, declaring that it considers it to be in compliance with the law.
If financing were pulled, the district would have an opportunity to appeal, and school officials were already talking about the possibility of the matter ending up in court. [The New York Times, 1/7/11]
Superintendent Of School District: Classes "Are In Full Compliance With The Law." Soon after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill, NPR reported on comments by the acting superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District:
TED ROBBINS (NPR national correspondent): Let's play some sound from students protesting outside the district headquarters this afternoon, followed by acting superintendent Maggie Shafer.
(Soundbite of protest)
Unidentified People: (Chanting) (Unintelligible).
MAGGIE SHAFER (Acting Superintendent, Tucson Unified School District): We believe these classes are meaningful and they do a lot of good for students, and they are in full compliance with the law that was signed yesterday.
ROBBINS: Now, Shafer says that because the classes are open to all students, not just those of one ethnic group. The law says that's okay. Ultimately, though, the law gives the state head of education full discretion to decide if the classes violate the law, which takes effect next January. [National Public Radio, 5/12/10]
FACT: Education Experts Oppose Efforts To Shut Down Ethnic Studies Programs
La Prensa: Education Experts Oppose Efforts To Shut Down Tucson Program. La Prensa San Diego reported that educators "across the state" opposed the law targeting the Tucson ethnic studies program and that backers of the program say that students participating in the program "have a 100 percent graduation rate and go on to college." La Prensa also reported, "The Anti-Defamation League of Arizona threw its weight in support of the Tucson program in a statement issued last week." [La Prensa San Diego, 5/28/10, via Nexis]
NY Times: Officials "Say Those Enrolled In The Program Do Better On State Tests." The New York Times reported that Tucson officials "say those enrolled in the program do better on state tests than those of the same ethnicity who are not enrolled." [The New York Times, 1/7/11]