That is one reason why the Arizona school board's and state government's recent and targeted destruction of the Mexican-American Studies classes formerly taught in the Tucson Public School District is so devastating. By refusing to allow instructors to teach their students (the majority of whom are Mexican-Amercian) about the history of indigenous and Hispanic people in the U.S., within a school district founded by a Mexican-American man, Arizona has handicapped a whole ethos of learning which could one day lead to a host of classes that incorporate more than simply white, American-settler and Western European king-type history.
As I fielded questions from the eager 9- and 10-year-olds about whether I was aware of the volcano in México apparently about to erupt (no, run for the hills!!), if I could speak and write in Spanish (mostly, and yes), and what I thought about Pancho Villa (I'll save that for another blog post), I felt happy, filled with their enthusiasm. I only wish that the legislators in Arizona had bothered to visit one of these classrooms before they passed their ignorant law.
For a more in-depth commentary on HB 2281, Arizona's Ethnic Studies Ban, see Yale Daily News Op-ed: http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/feb/22/aragon-and-zepeda-dont-ban-ethnic-studies/