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Former Tucson Teacher Curtis Acosta Describes Appeals Hearing on Arizona Law that Banned Minority Studies

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Curtis Acosta is a gifted teacher whose Latino studies program was banned by an Arizona state law, which is being challenged in federal court.  He was in San Francisco for oral arguments before the US Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit, and in this conversation, he provides the history of the case.  We also hear part of the argument presented by esteemed law professor Erwin Chemerinsky.Under GOP Gov. Jan Brewer and the Republican-controlled legislature, in 2010 Arizona enacted a law making it illegal to teach classes that “promote ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals….resentment towards a race or class of people….and promotion of the overthrow of the US government”.  State schools superintendent John Huppenthal and his predecessor, Tom Horne, pressed to shut down Mexican-American studies programs, including Acosta’s.

Acosta describes his program and its remarkable achievements, and the lawsuit against the law.  And we include an audio clip from the oral arguments by Prof. Chemerinsky, who now teaches at UC Irvine.

Listen to the full oral arguments, here.  You can see the video documentary “Precious Knowledge”  here.  You can see Acosta’s hiphop performance we talk about here.  And you can learn more about his new organization, the Acosta Latino Learning Project, here.