Press Release

AFT Praises Ruling Striking Down Discriminatory Education Policies in Tucson

For Release: 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Contact:

Marcus Mrowka
202-879-4447; 202-531-0689 (cell)
mmrowka@aft.org

"This historic verdict, 40 years in the making, upholds the right of every child in America to a high-quality public education—regardless of skin color, ZIP code or national origin," says AFT President Randi Weingarten. 

Washington—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten released the following statement praising federal district Judge David Bury's verdict adopting the Unitary Status Plan, which seeks to address critical issues affecting the quality of education for African-American and Latino students, including English language learners, in the Tucson (Ariz.) Unified School District. The verdict ended a 40-year desegregation case filed in 1974 by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF).

 "This historic verdict, 40 years in the making, upholds the right of every child in America to a high-quality public education—regardless of skin color, ZIP code or national origin. And it strikes down the unjust and harmful policies that have created a separate and unequal education system for African-American and Latino children in Tucson. 

"While there is more work to be done to ensure equal educational opportunities for every child, this verdict addresses critical issues affecting the quality of education for African-American and Latino students, including English language learners, in the Tucson Unified School District. If the verdict and the Unitary Status Plan are implemented properly, educators will now have access to the professional development and resources they need to help English language learners succeed; discriminatory disparities in access to critical programs will be addressed; and the way will be paved for the reinstatement of the Mexican American Studies program in the district, so that students have access to a curriculum that is stimulating and relevant to their lives and backgrounds." 

Additional Background- 

More on the ruling: http://www.maldef.org/news/releases/maldef_triumph_40_years_desegregatio...

The AFT's executive council passed a resolution last year condemning Arizona's H.B. 2281, which gutted the highly acclaimed Mexican American Studies (MAS) program and denounced the threats to intellectual freedom and the seizing of books and educational materials from students' classrooms. Studies show that 85 to 90 percent of Latino students enrolled in the MAS program go on to graduate high school.