Salvador  Peraza

Erasing Arizona: The Purging of Mexican-American Educational Rights

In 2010, the Arizona legislature banned the teaching of Ethnic Studies in public schools (K-12) via House Bill-2281. This bill specifically targeted Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican-American Studies program. According to the proponents of this bill, the MAS program was “dangerous” because it promoted ethnic, racial, and class divisions among students. In my research project, I will go beyond such public declarations to investigate what were the historical and political factors that led to the drafting and adoption of HB-2281. My methodological approach will consist of archival research at Arizona Historical Society archives, at the University of Arizona Special Collections and at Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records. Furthermore, I will complement this research with semi-structured interviews with critical actors that were involved in the dispute including local Arizona politicians, MAS educators, and MAS students in Tucson. My project will directly engage with the growing historical and political literature documenting the struggle of Mexican-American students for education rights in the Southwest. Lastly, by documenting their fight to revoke HB-2281, I will seek to contribute to the literature on Latino social movements and ethnic political organizations.