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Behind the Battle Over Mexican-American Studies in Public Schools

Tucson was forced to dismantle its popular program years ago. That hasn’t stopped districts nationwide from emulating it.
Protesters gather to support the Tucson Unified School District in Phoenix in 2011.

Protesters gather to support the Tucson Unified School District in Phoenix in 2011.

Photographer: Ross D. Franklin/AP Images

A federal judge is set to decide the fate of an Arizona state law that forced Tucson’s majority-Latino school district to shut down an influential Mexican-American studies program credited with boosting Latino students’ grades and graduation rates.

Judge Wallace Tashima is expected to rule in the coming weeks on whether the 2010 law, which let the state pull funding from any district that offered classes designed for students of a particular ethnic group, is discriminatory or violates students’ constitutional rights.