Precious Knowledge portrays the one of the final years of the highly successful but controversial Mexican American Studies Program at Tucson High School.
The program was a national model of educational success — 93 percent of its enrolled students graduating from high school and 85 percent going on to attend college, bucking a statewide trend that saw only 48 percent of Latino students graduating at all. The program taught Mexican and American history, as well as Central and South American literature and culture.
But the political tide shifted in Arizona in the 2000s. The state passed extremely controversial immigration laws, which some civil libertarians equated to racial profiling. Legislative sessions in the state became heated and rife with recriminations. And when lawmakers turned their attention to Tucson High’s ethnic studies program, it became a lightning rod in the public conversation about race. Opponents of the program launched a campaign to convince the public that ethnic studies teach everything from communism to terrorism to “reverse racism.”
This is a really important documentary about a really important program that was canceled out of fear and ignorance. Definitely worth a look.
There is also something about this young woman’s strength and determination in the trailer that for some reason, really reminds me of Korra. I wish I had the confidence she has when I was in high school.
(If you have the PBS iTunes app you can watch it for free.)