Tuesday, August 19, 2008

School district’s Raza studies denounced by Arizona School Superintendent

Tucson’s $2.6 million Mexican American/Raza Studies program has been severely criticized by Arizona School Superintendent Tom Horne. He calls it racially divisive and hypercritical of American history and culture, and wants the program halted.

The program’s director, Augustine F. Romero, is making the rounds of talk radio shows in the Tucson area, defending the program and its1,700 students. When asked about the racist name and nature of his program, Romero frustrates the questioner by saying “Raza studies is an anti-racist project. In fact, we are the ones who are combating racism.”

Horne says “People are individuals, not exemplars of racial groups. It is fundamentally wrong to divide students up according to their racial group and teach them separately.

"Hector Ayala was born in Mexico and is an excellent English teacher at Cholla High School. He reports that Romero accused him of being the 'White man's agent' and that when Romero was a teacher, he taught a separatist political agenda. Romero's students told Ayala they were taught in Raza studies to 'not fall for the White man's traps.'

"I have heard from many TUSD employees, complaining about the climate of fear created by Romero and the principals and TUSD board members aligned with him. It is up to the citizens of Tucson to get the board to change or change the board," Horne concluded.

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