Mexican American Studies Lives On

If you have seen the remarkable film Precious Knowledge, about the Mexican American Studies (MAS) program in Tucson, you’ll remember Curtis Acosta, the caring and charismatic high school language arts teacher. Despite its well-documented accomplishments and success in reaching historically marginalized students, Arizona politicians set out to destroy Tucson’s MAS program—through House Bill 2281, which singled […]

The Struggle for Mexican American Studies Continues

Many of you are familiar with the work of Tucson teacher Curtis Acosta. Acosta is the warm and eloquent—and photogenic!—language arts teacher featured in the film, Precious Knowledge, about Tucson’s now-outlawed Mexican American Studies program. The program is still suppressed, but the work goes on, as Acosta describes in this letter, recently posted to the […]

It’s Columbus Day…Time to Break the Silence

by Bill Bigelow This past January, almost exactly 20 years after its publication, Tucson schools banned the book I co-edited with Bob Peterson, Rethinking Columbus. It was one of a number of books adopted by Tucson’s celebrated Mexican American Studies program—a program long targeted by conservative Arizona politicians. The school district sought to crush the […]

Outlawing Solidarity in Tucson

by the editors of Rethinking Schools “Banned in Tucson.” As many Rethinking Schools readers know, in January Tucson school officials ordered our book Rethinking Columbus removed from Mexican American Studies classes, as part of their move to shut down the program. In some instances, school authorities confiscated the books during class—boxed them up and hauled […]

Tucson to Palestine: History As a Weapon

by Jody Sokolower The day the Tucson school board voted to kill the Mexican American Studies program, I was in Silwan, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem, learning about a different fight to rewrite history. Jawad Siyam is the director of Silwan’s Wadi Hilweh Information Center. Silwan, he explained to my partner Karen, my daughter Ericka, […]

“No History Is Illegal” Campaign: Pledge to Support Tucson

Dear Rethinking Schools friends, As we wrote earlier, on Jan. 13, we learned that our book Rethinking Columbus had been banned in Tucson schools as part of Arizona’s broader suppression of the successful Mexican American Studies (MAS) program. We asked for ideas about how we could oppose the attacks on this program and act in […]

Behind the Curtain in Tucson: A letter from Curtis Acosta

[On Jan. 10, the governing board of Tucson schools voted to terminate the popular and enormously successful Mexican American Studies program, under pressure from the Arizona state superintendent of education. We have posted a number of updates on the attacks on this program, including a letter that Tucson teacher Curtis Acosta wrote recently, describing the […]

Banning Critical Teaching in Arizona: A Letter From Curtis Acosta

Perhaps you’ve seen the wonderful film, Precious Knowledge, about the Mexican American Studies program in Tucson. One of the teachers featured is Curtis Acosta, along with his remarkable students. In the letter below, which Acosta allowed Rethinking Schools to reprint here, he offers a perspective on the curricular repression that teachers and students are confronting […]

Rethinking Columbus Banned in Tucson

By Bill Bigelow Imagine our surprise. Rethinking Schools learned today that for the first time in its more-than-20-year history, our book Rethinking Columbus was banned by a school district: Tucson, Arizona. According to journalist Jeff Biggers, officials with the Tucson Unified School District ordered that teachers pull the book from their classrooms, evidently as an […]