Today, I read this article from Latina Lista about Tom Horne, a school superintendent in Tuscon, Arizona who wants to do away with an ethnic studies program at a local High School. The classes he’s looking to eliminate include African American studies, Native American studies, Mexican American/Raza studies and Pan Asian studies.
Horne, who claims to have a long history of “opposing ethnic studies and gender studies” says that the decision is “not based on a question of academics or education, but ‘values.'”
The classes he’s proposing for elimination have been proven to help Latino students at the high school perform at higher levels.
Countless studies of such classes have shown that such programs don’t just enrich the curriculum but broadens the knowledge base of the students and fosters a sense of pride.
On a personal level, I am terrified by this justification. What he is proposing is a return to close-minded isolationist education that limits worldviews and works to keep people in agreement by keeping them in ignorace. Not only am I offended, as a woman, by his proud opposition to “gender studies”, but as a student of ethnic studies myself I am outraged that he is inserting “values” into his argument.
It is tactics like this that are working to re-institutionalize bigotry, mysoginy and racism. By eliminating these types of learning opportunities for young people, Horne is sending a message that Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans and Asian Americans are not are part of our “values”.
Whatever happened to the melting pot? Whatever happened to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? What is my country heading towards – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness only if you can prove that your values match ours?
Is anyone else outraged by this?
If so, take ACTION!
Horne will be in Tucson tomorrow in order to talk “about reasons TUSD should abolish its Ethnic Studies department”. Prior to his press conference, however, community members will gather in opposition to this deluded strategy of axing programs that lift up minority students.
Community members representing the four TUSD Ethnic Studies Departments (AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES, NATIVE AMERICAN STUDIES, MEXICAN AMERICAN/RAZA STUDIES, and PAN ASIAN STUDIES) will be holding a PRESS CONFERENCE in SUPPORT of ETHNIC STUDIES
Where: TUSD’s GOVERNING BOARD ROOM , 1010 E. 10th Street, Tucson, AZ 85719
Time: 9:30 a.m., Thursday, June 12, 2008