LACUSL Speaker Series: Adriana McCleer

Adriana McCleer, School of Information Studies, UW-Milwaukee
“Fighting for intellectual and cultural freedom: Current battles for Mexican American studies in K-12 classrooms”

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 3:30pm
Bolton Hall B60

Scholars and educators of color advocated for increased diversity of educational narratives in textbooks and curricula in the late 1960s, challenging historical inaccuracies and the ubiquity of the mainstream Euro-American perspective which marginalized and omitted perspectives of people of color. While scholars and practitioners have researched and validated ethnic studies’ effectiveness in providing beneficial outcomes for students of all races and ethnicities, debates persist over Mexican American studies in U.S. K-12 classrooms.

Tucson (Arizona) Unified School District’s (TUSD) Mexican American Studies (MAS) program was the only public K-12 ethnic studies program in the United States between 2002 and 2012. Two consecutive Arizona State Superintendents of Public Instruction led a four-year campaign that resulted in the enactment of two state laws severely limiting ethnic studies. In 2012, the TUSD School Board suspended all MAS activity and organized the removal of teaching materials and books from classrooms. These battles have spurred challenges as well as endorsements for MAS in other states, such as Texas, New Mexico, and California.

This presentation will outline the dismantling of the TUSD MAS program, as a case example illustrating the limitations of intellectual freedom for Latinas/os, people of color, and indigenous peoples in the U.S.

Presented by the Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies Program. This event is co-sponsored by the UWM Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, and the Center for International Education.