The Ongoing Struggle for Mexican-American Rights in Arizona

Curtis Costa is a Renowned Public High School Teacher in Tucson

What: Curtis Acosta, an educator from Tucson, AZ, will speak about the development of that state’s Mexican-American studies curriculum, its success with students, how and why it was found illegal, and the ongoing struggle for Mexican-American rights in Arizona. The title of this Common Hour event is “Banned Histories – Mexican-American Studies and the Struggle for Educational Justice in Arizona.”

When:  Tuesday, October 2 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Where: Rittenberg Lounge in Mather Hall on the Trinity campus, 300 Summit Street.

Background: In January of this year, the governing board of the Tucson Unified School District voted to terminate the popular and successful Mexican-American studies program under pressure from the Arizona State Superintendent of Instruction. Two weeks earlier, a judge had found the program in violation of a new state law banning classes designed for particular ethnic groups.

A high school teacher from the Tucson Unified School District who taught in the now-dismantled Mexican-American studies program, Acosta developed and taught Chican@/Latin@ Literature classes in the district. The program was the largest public school ethnic studies program in the nation before being eliminated. The classes were centered on student empowerment through critical pedagogy, as well as culturally responsive and socially relevant curriculum.

Acosta is also one of the filmmakers of Precious Knowledge, which will be screened in advance of his visit on Sunday, September 30 at 4 p.m. in Terrace Room B in Mather Hall. 

For more information about Precious Knowledge, please visit:​.

Acosta’s classes were the subject of multiple profiles by CNN, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, among others. 

He received his B.A. from Willamette University in Salem, OR and his master’s degree in language, reading and culture from the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he is currently pursuing his Ph.D.

The event is co-sponsored by Educational Studies, American Studies, History, Multicultural Affairs, La Voz Latina, Sociology, Hispanic Studies, and Psychology, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.