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Federal Judge Finds Racism Behind Arizona Law Banning Ethnic Studies

An Arizona law banning ethnic studies violated students' constitutional rights, a federal judge said Tuesday. His ruling made clear that the state showed discriminatory intent when it essentially shut down a Mexican-American studies program at Tucson Unified School District.

"Both enactment and enforcement were motivated by racial animus," federal Judge A. Wallace Tashima said in the ruling.

With this news, a portion of the law, prohibiting classes designed for students of certain ethnic groups, has been struck down, but the federal judge has yet to issue a final judgment and redress for the violation.

Despite this decade-long debate in Arizona, ethnic studies programs have grown in popularity throughout the country.

Here's what we reported earlier this month:

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Julie Depenbrock
Julie Depenbrock (she/her) is an assistant producer on Morning Edition. Previously, she worked at The Washington Post and on WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi Show. Depenbrock holds a master's in journalism with a focus in investigative reporting from the University of Maryland. Before she became a journalist, she was a first grade teacher in Rosebud, South Dakota. Depenbrock double-majored in French and English at Lafayette College. She has a particular interest in covering education, LGBTQ issues and the environment. She loves dogs, hiking, yoga and reading books for work (and pleasure).
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