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PBS to re-air doc on TUSD's ethnic studies program

'Precious Knowledge' follows students, school board in battle over program

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A documentary on the battle over Tucson Unified School District's Mexican-American Studies program will re-air at 11 p.m., Thursday on KUAT Channel 6.

"Precious Knowledge" follows TUSD's School Board and MAS students and educators as the board weighs the program's benefits.

The "Independent Lens" documentary was produced during the fight to keep the program, as students argued its benefits to learning the history of the American Southwest and Tucson.

TUSD lost appeals of rulings that the ethnic studies courses violated a 2010 law pushed by then-state schools chief (now attorney general) Tom Horne.

That law, HB 2281, bans courses that are designed primarily for one ethnic group, that advocate ethnic solidarity or promote resentment toward a race or class or people.

TUSD's Governing Board voted 4-1 on Jan. 24 to eliminate the program as the district faced losing 10 percent of its state funding over the issue.

The program's director, Sean Arce, was ousted from his position on April 11, following a contentious and raucous meeting attended by former MAS students.

The documentary first aired Sunday evening.

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Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.com

MAS supporters chanted 'Shame on you' as the vote to suspend TUSD's ethnic studies program MAS supporters chanted 'Shame on you' as the vote to suspend TUSD's ethnic studies program was taken Jan. 10.

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