at Renaissance Church, 77 Reservoir Ave,Providence, RI 02860 $10 suggested donation
First screening:3:00 PM
Q and A with Mr. Acosta:4:30 PM
Second screening:5:30 PM
Award-Winning Documentary about Tucson’s Mexican American Studies ProgramDisenfranchised high school seniors become academic warriors and community leaders in Tucson’s embattled Ethnic Studies classes while state lawmakers attempt to eliminate the program — an award winning documentary about Tucson’s Mexican American Studies Program featuring teacher Curtis Acosta who will be present to discuss the film and the lawsuit to save Ethnic Studies in Arizona.
For immediate release: March 16, 2011
Mexican American Studies stats show program works
Even without apples-to-apples comparison, TUSD analysis shows that the Mexican American Studies (MAS) program produces results, negating Arizona Daily Star report.
A Tucson Unified School District report issued March 11, 2011 concludes that TUSD’s Mexican American Studies program give students a measurable advantage over non-MAS students in passing standardized AIMS reading and writing tests, and that MAS students graduate at higher levels than their non MAS counterparts.
The analysis was conducted by David Scott, Tucson Unified School District Director of Accountability and Research, reporting to TUSD superintendent Dr. John Pedicone. Scott writes:
• “I find that there are positive measurable differences between MAS students and the corresponding comparative group of students.”
• “Juniors taking a MAS course are more likely than their peers to pass the reading and writing AIMS subject test if they had previously failed those tests in their sophomore year.”
• “Seniors taking a MAS course are more likely to persist to graduation that their peers.”
Scott’s analysis examined performance by MAS students against scores from the entire TUSD district rather than just the schools where MAS programs are offered (Cholla High Magnet School, Pueblo Magnet High School, Rincon High School and Tucson High Magnet School) which are primarily lower socio economic student populations relative to the entire district. Moreover, the primarily Latino MAS students were compared in Scott’s analysis with students from all ethnic backgrounds. And still the data shows that MAS students showed a distinct advantage over non-MAS students in high schools throughout the district.
“The district has no other program that creates the success for students, particularly Latino students like we have in this program,” says TUSD Director of Mexican American Studies Sean Arce. “And yet we are under fire.”
Scott’s data shows clear trends. “I find that over the last six years, students who complete a Mexican American Studies class during their senior year are more likely to graduate than comparison group seniors,” Scott writes. “The difference in completion rates ranges from 5-11 percent higher.”
An Arizona Daily Star news story by Alexis Huicochea from March 13, 2011 (“Ethnic studies claim in question”) states, “The district’s graduation rate of nearly 83 percent holds true for students who took a Mexican American Studies course and for those who did not, Scott found.”
Figures from Scott’s analysis support the advantage of MAS students over non-MAS students in AIMS reading and writing courses. On the AIMS reading course, the data shows that MAS students passed anywhere from 5-16 percent more than non MAS students over the six year period, and that in all but 1 year, the results were above 10 percent greater passing rates. On AIMS writing texts, the scores show passing rates anywhere from 5-16 percent higher for MAS students, with only one year below 10 percent higher.
For further information contact Deyanira Nevarez at 520-975-1485 (email email@example.com) or go to saveethnicstudies.org
The bill HB 2281 bans schools (in AZ) from teaching ethnic studies because it supposedly promotes the overthrow of the U.S. government. Also outlawed are courses designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group and those that advocate ethnic solidarity..
Tom Horne (state Superintendent of schools and the force behind the Arizona law SB 1070) claims that ethnic studies “serve to divide rather unite”. He says; “Fundamentally, I think it’s wrong to divide students by their race … the program teaches ‘one-sided’ propaganda and is inconsistent with American values.”
Now all of the sudden it is wrong to divide individuals, in this case students, by race or ethnicity. Is it because, according to the government, this class or this ‘division’ would be a threat to the government? How is it that when they divided the students, the community, the COUNTRY by the color if their skin – it was not considered to be wrong? In that case the United States has been incoherent when it comes the “American” values, the “United States”values, the “White man” values. Since dividing people by their race is not wrong, then why did the U.S go through slavery, segregation and is currently going through institutionalized racism?
Ethnic solidarity is when a particular group of people who share a common ethnicity or culture bond together to achieve a common goal. Ethnic studies will enable students to recognize the resemblance between their own culture and the culture of those who surround them; the beauty of ethnic studies is that it will give birth to ethnic solidarity between different ethnicities.
“Ethnic-studies classes in TUSD are open to everyone at the schools where they’re offered, and they’re not compulsory. They’re based in the – evidently novel – idea that the general-survey history books don’t tell the entire story of a time or a culture or an event, and that if students learn more about different ideas and ways of looking at the world, they’ll be more engaged and (gasp) better educated.
People are legitimately interested in what students are taught, and while curriculum decisions should not be turned into a popularity contest, they should not be so guarded that suspicion can fester. Ethnic studies will continue to be a flash point for TUSD unless the controversy can be hashed out in the open.”
Turns out that Arizona’s ban on ethnic studies courses in public schools may be having the opposite effect than lawmakers anticipated—the field appears to be gaining, rather than losing appeal among students.
Last spring, the state’s school superintendent Tom Horne proposed the ban, alleging that the classes were, in effect, prejudiced against white people. At best, Horne argued, they promoted “ethnic chauvinism.” And at their worst, they encouraged students to overthrow the U.S. government. Riding a wave of white populist sentiment after signing SB 1070 into law, Gov. Jan Brewer then legalized the ban. Districts that refuse to comply risk losing 10 percent of their state funding, and already some of the state’s ethnic studies teachers are toying with the idea of a constitutional challenge before the law goes into effect on December 31.
Students don’t seem too bothered. In fact, Mary Ann Zehr writes in Education Week that in Tucson, which has the only district-wide ethnic studies program in the state, enrollment in Mexican-American studies has doubled. Zehr profiles Tucson High Magnet School:
At least one class in two of the courses taught from a Mexican-American perspective at this school have more than 45 students, although the union contract calls for no more than 35 students in a class. School district officials say enrollment in Mexican-American studies in Tucson Unified’s 14 high schools has nearly doubled since last school year, from 781 to 1,400 students.
“Ethnic studies allow me to read and view and analyze different forms of literature and learning from another perspective,” said Krysta Diaz, 17, one of 386 students taking an ethnic-studies course at the school this year. The courses attract primarily students like Ms. Diaz, who are of Mexican-American heritage, but also draw in the occasional African-American, Anglo, or immigrant from a country other than Mexico.
It’s not a new point, but certainly a promising one, especially at the beginning of a school year that’s already muddled in national controversy. Shortly after the law, officially known as HB 2881, was passed, Daisy Hernandez reported for ColorLines that the courses were broadening:
Interviews with several professors in the field suggest that ethnic studies is (surprise, surprise) bearing the markings of race relations today: a widespread acceptance that black and brown experiences are important coupled with the complaint that we don’t need to focus on race and the rise of people of color to prominent positions juxtaposed with the ongoing need to organize and make demands on school systems.
Professor Jeff Duncan-Andrade, who teaches Raza Studies in the country’s only College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State, argued a similar point. Afraid of what goes on in ethnic studies classrooms? Visit one, Andrade says. Critics might be surprised at how confident, affirmed students of color can actually contribute to the national discourse, not erase it.
In any case, Horne’s intentions are pretty obvious. He’s a man on a political mission with a long history of bullying the state’s Latino students. Currently, he’s running for state attorney general and trying desperately to appeal to Arizona’s aging baby boomers who can already feel their racial majority slipping. During one fit, Horne mandated that kids prove their permanent U.S. address before getting on school buses on the first day of classes.