The Latest: Former Arizona official wraps up testimony
Jul. 18, 2017
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on a trial a fight over ethnic studies courses in Arizona public schools (all times local):
Daylong testimony from the former Arizona official behind the shuttering of Mexican-American Studies program in Tucson ended Tuesday.
Tom Horne, the former public schools superintendent, wrapped up his testimony in the trial against a 2010 Arizona law that ended ethnic studies in the state by reiterating that he felt the program was racist and he considers himself a crusader against racism.
The Tucson Unified School District's program taught Mexican-American history, art and literature to high school students. The district said students enrolled in the program performed better in school.
But TUSD ultimately ended the program after the law targeting ethnic studies took effect.
The trial is looking at whether the law was enacted with discriminatory intent. The courts have upheld most of its provisions.
Former Arizona schools chief Tom Horne denied Tuesday that he has a history of eliminating programs that benefit Mexican Americans.
Horne was testifying all day in a federal trial in Tucson over a 2010 state law that ended ethnic studies in the state. Plaintiffs contend the law specifically targeted the popular Mexican-American Studies program at Tucson Unified School District.
Plaintiffs' attorney Jim Quinn said Horne has in the past ended programs for Mexican Americans, including ending bilingual education in Arizona. Horne defended that move, saying it was for the educational benefit of Spanish-speaking students.
The courts have upheld most of the law, but a judge is now considering whether it was enacted with discriminatory intent.
Arizona's former schools chief says he was deeply troubled by a program in Tucson teaching Mexican-American history and pushed for years to end it.
Tom Horne is testifying Tuesday in a lawsuit against the state over a 2010 law banning ethnic studies in public schools. Students from the Tucson Unified School District say the law targeted Mexican-American studies and violated their First Amendment rights.
Horne says the law he drafted as public schools superintendent targeted all ethnic studies programs, not just the Mexican-American one. He said its teachings were un-American and produced prejudices.
The district eliminated the program in early 2012, leading to student and parent protests.
The courts have upheld most of the state law, but a judge is now considering whether it was enacted with discriminatory intent.
The former state official behind a ban on a popular Mexican-American studies program in Tucson is scheduled to spend Tuesday testifying in federal court over the law Arizona passed that ultimately ended the program.
Former Arizona schools chief Tom Horne was behind the battle against the program the year that lawmakers passed the state's landmark immigration law. He has also defended the law that restricts ethnic studies courses in public schools as the state's former attorney general, saying it helped keep "radical" curriculum out of classrooms.
A federal judge is considering whether the law was enacted with discriminatory intent. The trial is expected to last through at least July 25.