A federal judge has ordered the Tucson Unified School District to begin offering culturally relevant courses in the next school year.
The classes, which will focus on the history, experiences and culture of black and Latino communities, are among many provisions in a plan that aims to bring racial balance to TUSD schools.
U.S. District Judge David Bury adopted the plan, known as the Unitary Status Plan, Wednesday. Bury is overseeing the district’s decades-long desegregation effort.
The plan focuses on eliminating vestiges of past discrimination to the extent practicable in the areas of discipline, student assignment, school operations – which includes faculty, staff, transportation, extracurricular activities and facilities – and the quality of education being offered to minority students.
The plan was put together by Special Master Willis Hawley, an expert on race relations and academic achievement.
The culturally relevant courses have been one of the more contentious provisions in the plan. TUSD previously had to eliminate Mexican American Studies classes after they were found to be in violation of state law.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne led the charge in finding the courses to be unlawful while he served as the state superintendent of public instruction. Though Horne has left that post, he has continued to lobby against the classes, objecting to the new culturally relevant courses that are part of the unitary plan.