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In Lak‘Ech: Honoring, Remembering, and Retelling our personal stories with Ethnic Studies Precious Knowledge screening and discussion with Dr. Curtis Acosta
Dr. Acosta was a high school teacher for nearly 20 years in Tucson, where he developed and taught Mexican American and Raza Studies classes for the renowned Mexican American Studies program in the Tucson Unified School District. His work was featured in the documentary Precious Knowledge, a film released in 2011 after the Mexican American Studies program was shut down. Just recently, in August 2017, a federal judge ruled that termination of the program violated students’ rights and was motivated by “racial animus.”
Now an assistant professor at the University of Arizona South, Dr. Acosta will share their reflections and current thoughts given this recent victory for Ethnic Studies and lead a discussion on the role of Ethnic Studies in education.
Precious Knowledge interweaves the stories of students in the Mexican American Studies Program at Tucson High School. While 48 percent of Mexican American students currently drop out of high school, Tucson High’s Mexican American Studies Program has become a national model of educational success, with 100 percent of enrolled students graduating from high school and 85 percent going on to attend college. The filmmakers spent an entire year in the classroom filming this innovative social-justice curriculum, documenting the transformative impact on students who become engaged, informed, and active in their communities.