Eleven Tucson, Arizona, educators sued the state board of education and superintendent this week for what the teachers consider an "anti-Hispanic" ban looming on Mexican-American studies.
The suit comes in a state already roiled by a controversial immigration law that is being challenged in court.
On Tuesday, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne defended the new law, which will go into effect December 31. The law authorizes the superintendent to stop any ethnic studies classes that "promote the overthrow of the United States government ... promote resentment toward a race or class of people ... (or) advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treatment of pupils as individuals."
Horne said he would seek the first-ever ban in Tucson for its "raza studies" program, now called Mexican-American studies. Raza means "the race" in Spanish.
The law allows the state to withhold 10 percent of monthly aid - which would amount to $3 million a month for Tucson Unified School District No. 1.