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Outlawed in Arizona

This week Need to Know travels to Tucson, Arizona, to report on a long-running dispute over a Mexican-American studies program. Supporters say the program has helped at-risk students improve their test scores and graduate high school, while opponents contend it encourages anti-American sentiment and subversive thinking.


Explore the banned curriculum

Find out what is actually at dispute in Tucson’s classrooms. Peruse the contested curriculum.

Laying down the law

Read AZ House Bill 2281 — which prohibits courses in public schools that “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group” or promote resentment against a race or class of people.”

Read the report

An independent audit of Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies Department doesn’t support the declaration by state schools chief John Huppenthal that TUSD’s ethnic studies classes violate the law.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.

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      Subversive learning?
    Need to Know travels to Tucson, Arizona, where a years-long dispute over a Mexican-American studies program has tensions high.
  • thumb
    Following the money: Tax breaks
    New CBO report echoes the findings of Need to Know's "A tale or four tax returns."
  • thumb
    Mixed-status families
    From PBS NewsHour: Listen to the stories of families who are struggling with separation or being forced to leave the United States.


  • Teachersp2

    Does anyone know if everyone, regardless of ethnic background, is welcome in these programs? If so, what was the rate of non-hispanic participation in the MAS and what were their feelings about the program?

  • Shareef EL

    Good question. It should be a broad class. I think with the exclusivity comes criticism. Its hard to believe that there’s not more discussion on here about this. I just looked at the program and I was moved. I think there is a way to teach a more cultural base without causing any harm to the infrastructure of the US. Fear seems to be the major cause of backlash towards the whole idea of ethnic based education. But if the Govt. really wants to see this Nation rise to its true greatness. It is going to have to level off with its Citizens and provide an esteem nourishing education that is grounded in unbiased truths. Low self esteem and low self worth is one of the major symptoms that is causing the inner city degradation. An education that tells of everyones greatness is the one that will defeat ignorance and promote exemplar participation from our students.

  • Jack

    Watching the demonstration by students who appeared to be out of control was frightening, however, I cannot help but sympathize with their complaint. Our schools have become nothing more than organizations catering to special in many cases. Education should be left to qualified educators and we are producing far too few of those in our system.