More than 50 TUSD students skipped their regular classes today, instead attending the “School of Ethnic Studies.”
The “School of Ethnic Studies” was organized by UNIDOS, a group formed by Mexican American Studies students in 2010.
The event at El Casino Ballroom is being held in response to the elimination of the classes on Jan. 10 amid a threat of a loss of millions in state funding from Arizona schools chief John Huppenthal, who declared the courses to be illegal.
The group calls the effort “the first steps to reclaiming our education.”
“For one day, students get to choose where they obtain their education,” UNIDOS leaders said in a Facebook posting. “And if it’s taken away from them inside the institution, we as a community have the right to create it elsewhere.”
UNIDOS has been urging students to miss school today — TUSD’s 100th day of school.
The day is significant because the Arizona Department of Education disburses funding based on the number of students enrolled over the first 100 days of school.
The organizers of the event believe that the student absences will reduce TUSD's funding; however, the Arizona Department of Education has said there is no reason to believe the absences will have a negative impact.
Community members, organizations, college professors and Mexican American Studies alumni will work with the students throughout the day.