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"If It Was Not For You Guys, I'd Be Dead"

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An administrator for Tucson Unified School District defends the Raza studies program in the school district by quoting students who say the program helped save their lives. Augustine F. Romero, the senior director of the district's Mexican American/Raza Studies Department, says in his remarks to the press that the program has helped many students to "transcend the nihilistic state of hopelessness." He mentions that students are taught lessons from history, such as about the role of Emiliano Zapata in the Mexican Revolution, and comparative politics. Excerpts of an interview with Mr. Romero are published today in The Arizona Republic.

Liam Julian, who believes the program is unnecessary, writes over at Flypaper that he finds Mr. Romero's defense unconvincing.

Let me note that if the students in Tucson are learning something about Emiliano Zapata, they are learning something in school that I didn't. I just had to look the guy up on Wikipedia. So what does that say about my education in public schools?

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Students need to feel a connection and learning about something from their culture in a new language is a must. When I lived in Thailand, I learned Thai and Lao history. A student last year from Japan taught us about Japanese history and we took it farther by learning about the history of immigration from their country to the US. She learned about Japanese American immigration which isn't taught in Japan. As a bonus, she ended up writing about it in an American History test. They learn something and I always learn something because even if I have taught the subject before, there is something more to know.

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