In 2006 labor rights activist Dolores Huerta told Tucson High Magnet School students that "Republicans hate Mexicans". In reaction to this then Superintendent of public instruction Tom Horne sent deputy superintendent Margaret Dugan to explain to the students why Huerta was wrong. The students felt frustration at not being allowed to ask Dugan questions. They placed tape on thier mouths and more than 200 students walked out on the speech. Horne investigated about how these students learned about free speech and civil disobedience. Horne decided that this knowledge came from their Mexican American studies classes. Thus HB 2281 was launched. Around the time that Huerta spoke to the students a series of bills were being passed such as SB 1070 which we read about in another classmates blog this semester. These legislative attacks were aimed at enforcing borders and antiimmigrant sentiment. Huertas aim in telling the students that republicans hate mexicans was an effort to have the children look at and challenge them. Senator John Huppenthal successfully ran for state superintendent with the platform stating he would eliminate Raza studies. La Raza being a term used by the Chicano Movement meaning "the people".
The origins of the Tucson Mexican American studies department was a response to student drop out rates and low test scores. the Department of Education hired the Cambium group to audit the program. the Cambium report found that students were doing better in school and that the classes
increased the likelihood that students would graduate and go on to college. Students even began to perform better outside of the classes such as math. Teaching kids their history affirms and supports their performance in and out of the class room. Personally ethnic studies gave me a voice and affirmed that i had a role in my education. I learned that there are others like me and we too have the power to create knowledge. I learned to think critically about issues in and outside my community. Sandra Cisneros wrote "One day i will pack my bags of books and paper. One day i will say goodbye to Mango. I am too strong for her to keep me here forever. One day i will go away. Friends and neighbors will say, What happened to that Esperanza? Where did she go with all those books and paper? why did she march so far away? They will not know I have gone away to come back. For the ones I left behind. For the ones who cannot out".
Sandra Cisneros banned book The House on Mango Street
Pedagogy of The Oppressed Paulo Freire
What's Race Got to Do With It? Critical Race Theory's Conflicts With and Connections to Qualitative Research Methodology and Epitemology
Laurence Parker and Marvin Lynn