LatinaLista — Nobody can argue with the fact that when it comes to academic performance among Latino students, too many fail or drop out.
To counter that dismal statistic, there are programs in place across the country specifically focused on Latino academic achievement. Most consider that a good thing since the goal is to get more Latino students to care about school and their future.
Yet, according to Arizona’s outgoing state schools Superintendent Tom Horne, that kind of thing is against the law in his state.
Horne, a Republican and ardent critic of Mexican-American studies, who was successful in getting a law passed last year banning ethnic studies in Arizona schools, has contended that Mexican-American studies classes “advocate overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment toward a race or class or people, or advocate ethnic solidarity.”
He asserts that the program’s goal of “increased academic achievement for Latino students” are enough to violate the law.
He bases his observation on the fact that the classes primarily cater to Latino students, even though he admits non-Latino students do enroll in the courses.
He has encountered a lot of resistance, primarily from the Tucson Unified School District, which sees the classes as a community issue and not a self-serving political agenda of any one party.
The fact that these classes are intended to increase academic achievement is a good thing and something that is always applauded among members of the educational and Latino communities. In fact, school administrators have documented the impact of the classes on student achievement:
“…internal studies indicating that students who took Mexican-American studies scored higher on the AIMS test and were more than twice as likely to graduate and three times as likely to go on to college.”
Horne doesn’t buy the documentation and says the methodology is all wrong. He even released his own findings today at a press conference before leaving office.
According to him, “the classes provoke racism, encourage students to see themselves as oppressed and foment anti-social behavior.”
Rather ironic that his reasoning serves as the perfect definition of today’s politics in Arizona — of which, through his actions, he is intimately promoting.