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Need to Know: Banned in Arizona

This broadcast originally aired on February 15, 2013.

Anchor Ray Suarez

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.

 Read the full transcript.


Outlawed in Arizona

In Tucson, Arizona a dispute over a Mexican-American studies program has tensions high; supporters say it has helped re-engage at risk students and improved their test scores. Opponents contend it encourages subversive thinking.

Claudio Iván Remeseira on the future of ethnic studies

Editor-in-chief of “Hispanic New York” (, Remeseira teaches a seminar on the history of Latinos and the Latinization of the U.S. at Columbia University’s Center for American Studies.

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.

Taboo topics in schools

From Darwin to divinity — a brief look at America’s classroom wars.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.