Precious Knowledge educates students on cultural freedom

Nicole Bullard

The anthropology department and Ayudando Chicano Latinos A Mover Obstaculos Club are sponsoring the fundraiser “Precious Knowledge,” which is a documentary supporting the Mexican-American program in Tucson High School, Arizona.

The students and teachers in the Mexican-American program at Tucson High School are fighting against a ban of ethnic studies.

As for who has been calling for the ban of ethnic studies, the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, has been pushing legislation to ban ethnic studies, focusing on the 22 courses taught at four Tucson high schools in literature, history, and government.

The bill that would remove ethnic studies off the curriculum is called House Bill 2281, was passed on April 29, 2010 by the Arizona House of Representatives.

The bill clearly states that if a school district or charter school in Arizona does not comply with the ban after 60 days, the Department of Education will withhold up to ten percent of monthly apportionment until the said school district complies.

Precious Knowledge focuses on the right to keep ethnic studies and the unfair assumptions that are being cast against the Mexican-American program.

Precious Knowledge is a PBS production, and has premiered at the FOX Theater.

The documentary shows what the ethnic classes have provided for students, especially the Mexican American classes. It has provided them with the knowledge of their history and critical thinking.

In the documentary, Tom Horne is heard addressing Tucson Unified District, in his concerns of ethnic studies.

“I’m calling on Tucson Unified District to shut down the ethnic studies program,” said Horne to a crowd of citizens and reporters.

The question is, what is the main concerns for a program that celebrates cultural backgrounds? Some people who are opposing the ethnic studies have called it “un-American” and “hate speech.”

Inside the classrooms during the documentary, the students practice and study the backgrounds of their culture. Although the program is called the Mexican American program, there are students of diverse races in the classroom.

Many Tucson high schools are still speaking out against the legislation.

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