Fil-Am teachers fighting for ethnic studies in Arizona

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Feb 06 2015 12:39 PM | Updated as of Feb 06 2015 08:39 PM

SAN FRANCISCO – About 150 teachers, students, and activists gathered at San Francisco’s Mission High School.

Their cause: bring back ethnic studies in Arizona.

Filipino-American educators said the fight to get Mexican American studies re-established in Arizona is important because it is an on-going effort to help minorities find their identities in the U.S.

"These are our brothers and sisters who we have been in solidarity with us for generations and it is part of our legacy and responsibility to be in solidarity with them," said Dr. Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, an ethnic studies professor at San Francisco State University.

Arizona legislature passed a law in 2010 that discontinued the teaching of Mexican American studies in Tucson’s public schools.

There were fears among conservatives that ethnic study courses politicized students and created ethnic resentment against whites.

Recently, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments aimed to overturn Arizona’s ethnic studies law. A decision has yet to be announced.

Fil-Am teachers also testify that ethnic studies are vital for the development of their students regardless of ethnicity.

"Every generation there’s kids that come forward and they want to understand what it is to be Filipino, that want to understand what it is to be an Asian American, a person of color in this society, in this context. What we have to face in our struggles to become full members of this society, and whether or not if we feel we are full members of this society today," said Professor Dan Gonzales.

Rod Daus-Magbual is a Fil-Am educator at City College of San Francisco said that his six-year-old daughter, Amianan Daus-Magbual is already benefiting from ethnic studies.

"For my daughter to know about herself being Pinay at a younger age she has a way different perspective of what the world can become and I think that’s what is really important for her and other people at her age and younger to understand to make this world a better place," said Daus-Magbual.

As students and teachers wait for the decision in Arizona, advocates for ethnic studies are celebrating the passage of a bill by the Indiana Senate this past Tuesday that would implement ethnic studies into the high school curriculum.

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