The University of Arizona

Panelists to Discuss New Ethnic Studies Law

By Jeff Harrison, September 20, 2010

Supporters of Arizona HB 2281 cite a litany of problems related to ethnic studies programs, while opponents say they are proven educational tools.

Arizona State Museum Director Beth Grindell
Arizona State Museum Director Beth Grindell
Mary Combs
Mary Combs
Image of 19th century Mexican revolutionary Miguel Hidalgo. (Image via Wikipedia)
Image of 19th century Mexican revolutionary Miguel Hidalgo. (Image via Wikipedia)

University of Arizona educators, ethnic studies faculty members and local school district officials will participate in a moderated roundtable discussion to explore the issues central to Arizona House Bill 2281. The public is encouraged to ask questions and participate in civil discourse on the topic.

The Arizona Legislature passed and Gov. Jan Brewer signed HB 2281 earlier this year. The law prohibits public and charter schools from offering courses or classes that promote resentment toward a race or class of people, are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group, or that advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals, under the threat of withholding state funding for violations.

Supporters cite a litany of problems with ethnic studies programs. Opponents of the bill counter that ethnic studies promote respect and understanding among races, support student success and teach critical thinking skills.

The law is scheduled to take effect at the end of this year and has generated national interest and even become part of the debate surrounding Senate Bill 1070, Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law.

Panelists will address topics such as how the law might impact students and cultural diversity and implications of the law on institutions of higher learning that prepare teachers. Panelists include:

  • Sean Arce, director of Mexican American studies for the Tucson Unified School District
  • Linda Green, associate professor in the UA School of Anthropology
  • K. Tsianina Lomawaima, a professor in the UA American Indian studies department
  • Augustine F. Romero, director of student equity at TUSD
  • Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, an adjunct lecturer in the UA Mexican American and Raza studies department
  • Robert A. Williams Jr., professor in the UA James E. Rogers College of Law

This event is co-sponsored by the Arizona State Museum and the UA College of Education and is free and open to the public.