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By NWV News writer Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
October 26, 2010

As an educator, I refused to be complicit in a curriculum that engendered racial hostility, irresponsibly demeaned America's civil institutions, undermined our public servants, discounted any virtues in Western civilization and taught disdain for American sovereignty. - John Ward, former teacher at Tucson High Magnet School.

Eliminating a radical La Raza ("The Race") studies program in an Arizona public school district is unconstitutional and restricts free speech, according to a group of teachers who are suing the state to reinstate the taxpayer-financed curriculum that one instructor says "ignited racial hostility."

The Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American/Raza Studies program was eliminated earlier this year when the state enacted a measure -- HB 2281 -- to stop funding ethnic studies curriculums that advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government.

In 1998 the district created the Mexican American/Raza Studies division -- renamed “Mexican-American Studies” last year to sound less extremist -- to promote the "Chicano agenda."

A few years ago a Hispanic history teacher in the district, John Ward, denounced the curriculum’s biased theme that Mexican-Americans continue to be victims of a racist American society driven by the interests of middle and upper-class whites.

Kids were taught that the southwestern United States was taken from Mexicans because of the insatiable greed of the Yankee who acquired values from the corrupted ethos of western civilization, the teacher wrote in a newspaper opinion piece obtained by Judicial Watch, a group devoted to investigating government corruption, according to officials at Judicial Watch.

Students also learned that California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Texas are really Aztlan, the ancient homeland of the Aztecs, and still rightfully belong to their descendants, people of indigenous Mexican heritage. Also, the former Tucson teacher said, students were told that few Mexicans took advanced high school courses because their “white teachers” didn’t believe they were capable and wanted to prevent them from getting ahead.

The curriculum engendered racial irresponsibly, demeaned America’s civil institutions, undermined public servants, discounted any virtues in western civilization and taught disdain for American sovereignty, according the teacher who blew the whistle on the La Raza program. He also revealed that many of the instructors who taught the courses were not certified to teach.


The teachers who are suing to renew public funding for the district’s Chicano studies department claim in their complaint that their free speech has been impermissibly infringed by the state.

Furthermore, they claim that students who take the La Raza courses score higher on standardized tests, graduate from high school at higher rates, improve their overall grades and have better school attendance records, but have offered no evidence of those claims.

Earlier this month, the California Regional Office of the National Council of La Raza, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, hosted a conference for K–12 school leaders and education experts on October 7–8 in downtown Los Angeles. The goal was to reframe the conversation on expectations, standards, and accountability as they relate to Hispanic students in the public school system.

The conference, “Accountability for All: Raising the Standard of Learning for Latino Students,” kicked off at on October 7 with remarks from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

Other participants included superintendents, executive directors, and principals of charter schools in the NCLR School Network from throughout the nation, most of whom serve student populations with a high percentage of Latinos.

According to La Raza officials: The conference gave school leaders a forum to exchange information and perspectives, a clear understanding of how to integrate the needs of Latino and English language learner students into accountability measures, practical tools that can be implemented at their schools, and the chance to provide feedback on policy recommendations at the federal level.

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"The goal of La Raza and other leftist or 'progressive' groups is to indoctrinate youngsters and cause them to reject traditional American values and culture," said political strategist Mike Baker.

'While they are starting in areas of the U.S. close to the U.S.-Mexico border -- such as California, Arizona and New Mexico -- they ultimately plan to gain access to northern school districts," Baker said.

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In 1998 the district created the Mexican American/Raza Studies division -- renamed “Mexican-American Studies” last year to sound less extremist -- to promote the "Chicano agenda."