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Ethnic Studies debate video
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Ethnic Studies debate video

  • Spece, Martinez, Atwood and Horne.
    Spece, Martinez, Atwood and Horne.

Civil rights attorney Richard Martinez and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne debated Tucson Unified School District's ethnic studies programs Tuesday.

A panel discussion, "Ethnic Studies Inside or Outside the American Constitution?," was held at the University of Arizona law school, featured the two with UA law professor Roy Spece. The debate was moderated by law professor Barbara Atwood.

Thanks to Daniel Buckley for the video of the face-off.

Martinez represents 11 TUSD Mexican-American Studies teachers who are suing the state superintendent of public instruction and the Arizona Department of Education over a state law that targets the district's ethnic studies programs.

Horne, the former state schools chief, was one of the prime backers of the law, which bans classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government; promote resentment toward a race or class of people; are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group; and advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of students as individuals.

The state has found that TUSD's classes violate the law. The district has appealed the ruling.

At stake is up to 10 percent of Tucson's budget, which could be withheld.

The state is now auditing TUSD's courses to determine if it violates the law.

Disclosure: Dylan Smith’s wife is a teacher in the Tucson Unified School District.


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