The Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies (MAS) program was felled by a bill devised by the Arizona State Legislature to ban ethnic studies in public K-12 schools and signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer. John Huppenthal, the Arizona state superintendent of public school instruction and the initiator of the ban, made a campaign promise when running for office to “stop la raza.”
One approach to stopping la raza is banning books. Arizona officials went into each classroom where MAS instruction took place and removed from the shelves books that supported the MAS curriculum. We in the library are not surprised by this. That is, while taking books away from kids shocks and unsettles, is a vulgar act, it also makes sense if the goal is to try and control the thinking and learning of a population. Reading is powerful. And while the image of adults entering a classroom where instruction is going on and removing books is repugnant, it is also a strong message to the students that books matter, that reading can threaten the status quo. Read on!
Mexican American Studies Department Reading List, American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL) blog.
“Challenging Arizona’s Ban on Ethnic Studies,” Peter Rothberg, The Nation
“No History is Illegal: A Campaign to Save Our Stories,” Network of Teacher Activist Groups