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Judge halts Arizona ban on Mexican American studies

New York Teacher

A federal judge blocked Arizona from enforcing a controversial ban on Mexican American studies courses, arguing that the state law is unconstitutional. The decision was the result of a lawsuit brought by students against the state’s board of education. The judge, Wallace Tashima, said the ban was “not for a legitimate educational purpose, but for an invidious discriminatory racial purpose and a politically partisan purpose.”

The law, which passed in 2010, was prompted by a voluntary Mexican American studies program in Tucson that dated back to the 1970s. The program offered K–12 classes in art, government, history and literature, which focused on historic and contemporary Mexican American contributions. 

The ban on such programs provoked widespread protests by activists who said the law was racist in both intent and effect. The Tucson school district has not yet announced whether it will restore the banned curricula.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has not said whether it will appeal the injunction. 

Los Angeles Times, Dec. 27

The Washington Post, Dec. 28