Students Protest Arizona Ethnic Studies Bill 2281

By Lauren Prince '14News Editor

On May 20, the state of Arizona passed House Bill 2281, stating that ethnic studies classes are to be banned from public schools and that students “should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people.” The language of the bill implies that by teaching ethnic studies, students will be more aware and disrespectful towards others’ differences as opposed to retaining a better, deeper understanding of cultures that make and create the United States.

Originally, ethnic studies classes started as a result of the No Child Left Behind mandate to fill academic gaps. Many students enjoyed learning the history of other cultures, and gained valuable insights from such studies.

Many ethnic studies educators and students all over the country are extremely upset by the law and doing everything they can to appeal the bill. For example, teachers in Arizona are continuing to teach ethnic studies classes such as Mexican American Studies in history, literature and art, from elementary school to high school despite the law. They believe that the students have everything to gain and very little to lose. They hope that such defiance will prove their perspective.

Many Scripps students are uncomfortable with the law as well. “I attended a lecture at Pomona by two of the teachers that were teaching Ethnic Studies courses in Arizona and I felt extremely upset about the issue,” said Sara Estevez Cores (’13).

As a result, the five colleges have teamed up to protest the bill. Cores and Jennifer Mathai (’12) have rounded up supporters including Café con Leche students, ELA students, SCORE, CLSA, and CEC.

“We are trying to make people aware of the HB2281 and to take action on it,” said Cores. As a result, the week of Nov. 29 will be Raise Awareness Week for House Bill 2281. There will be a presentation at the Motley by faculty on Tuesday, a fund-raising event with Mariachis, Mexican costumes, and tacos on Wednesday, and a Call for Action March on Friday. Attendance is encouraged. For more information about the Arizona bill, please go to www.SaveEthnicStudies.org.