Saving Ethnic Studies: A Conversation with Sean Arce

From Sydney Lewis ’14:

Sean Arce co-founded and directed a K-12 Mexican American Studies program in the Tucson Unified School District as an alternative to the non-inclusive history program. It was the only K-12 Mexican American Studies program in the country and was incredibly successful, receiving national acclaim such as “one of the most significant and successful public school initiatives on the teaching of history in the United States” and “a resounding academic success and affirmation of the diversity of our nation and our community.” The Mexican American Studies program not only broadened students’ understanding of their nation’s history and celebrated ethnic diversity in the classroom, it significantly closed the racial achievement gap in the district.

However, when proposed legislation threatened to end the program for “promoting ethnic resentment,” Mr. Arce lost his job for speaking out against the discriminatory law. The program was subsequently banned. Mr. Arce and others have since been working to restore the program, a struggle that is documented in the film Precious Knowledge.

Please join us for lunch and a talk by Mr. Arce about his work in Tucson and the vital importance of having vibrant ethnic and identity studies programs in the U.S!

Lunch will be provided!

Date: Friday, November 2
Time: 12pm
Place: PAC 001
Cost: Free