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Should Mexican-American Books Be Banned in US Public Schools?

Suzi Parker - TakePart
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March 16, 2013

The covers of six of the controversial books. (huffpost)

In pockets across the country, some legislators and educators want to keep students from reading books that shed light on racial and cultural diversity.

The latest case in point is New Mexico.

In the New Mexico legislature, Democratic Rep. Anotonio “Moe” Maestas introduced a house memorial bill that encouraged and praised diversity in book choices for the state’s schools. It wanted to reflect “a spirit of acceptance and a celebration of different cultures and beliefs.” The memorial was in response to a case in Arizona where seven books were banned from classrooms.

The books banned in Arizona, which came up in the New Mexico legislature this week, included The Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Freire and Occupied America by Rodolfo F. Acuna. According to the latter book’s description, it is “authored by one of the most influential and highly-regarded voices of Chicano history and ethnic studies” and is “the most definitive introduction to Chicano history.”

The Arizona curriculum focused on Mexican-American literature and emphasized critical thinking in elementary, middle, and high schools. Some supporters held that it increased student achievement and graduation rates and should be expanded to other school districts. Opponents, however, said it divided students.

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