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Jan 25, 2012
Press Release

Washington D.C.:  Chairman Charles A. Gonzalez (TX 20) and Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ 7), chair of the CHC education task force, sent a letter this week to top federal education officials urging an investigation of whether an Arizona state law violates federal standards by targeting Tucson Unified School District’s successful Mexican-American Studies (MAS) program. The letter, sent to assistant secretary of education for civil rights Russlynn Ali, calls Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 15-122 “bad public policy and fundamentally flawed,” especially as it has been applied in targeting and shutting down the MAS program. ARS 15-122 forbids schools to encourage “overthrow of the U.S. government” or prioritize ethnic identity over teaching students as individuals.

To raise awareness, the CHC is urging supporters to change their profile picture on Facebook and Twitter to the “You Can’t Ban Books, You Can’t Ban History” logo on Thursday, January 26, 2012. 

Chairman Charles A. Gonzalez:
“Attacking the Mexican American Studies program sends the wrong message to Arizona’s students and denies the state’s rich history. Policy makers cannot look at history the way they look at items at a cafeteria, selectively picking what works for their agenda. It is critically important to teach history that treats minorities as an integral part of states’ development and to understand the contribution of minority communities of the past and present day. ARS 15-122 only serves to intensify the sentiments against Hispanics and I urge the Department of Education to investigate this ill-conceived statute.”

 Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva:
“This is not about one group of people wanting special treatment. This is about a successful educational program with a high graduation rate being shut down for purely ideological reasons. Public education isn’t supposed to be politicized in this country, but that’s exactly what’s happened in Southern Arizona and the students are losing out because of it. The Department of Education would do a great public service by conducting a full and fair investigation into whether this power grab is authorized under federal law.”