Scholar weighs MAS ruling's impact on ethnic studies nationwide

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Scholar weighs MAS ruling's impact on ethnic studies nationwide

CREATED Mar 11, 2013 - UPDATED: Mar 12, 2013

Reporter: Maggie Vespa

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Regardless of your take on this latest ruling, or on Mexican American Studies in general, one thing is pretty clear.

This now years-long battle has turned Tucson into ground zero when it comes to debating the ethics of ethnic studies in American schools.
9OYS spoke to one concerned scholar about why the eyes of academia are on Tucson.
"It's game changing.  It's absolutely game changing," said Dr. Ernesto Mireles has been a student and/or teacher of American Studies and Chicano literature for roughly 20 years, most recently at Michigan State University.
But these days, his focus is on TUSD's troubles.
"I think its unfortunate, but at the same time, I'm not particularly surprised given the decisions that have come down," he said, concerning this most recent decision.
We spoke with Mireles via phone Monday.
While he has visted Tucson before, to show support for MAS, his philosophy has always centered on compromise.
Now he's not so sure.
"It's already running," he said, concerning the program.  "It's graduating students at 100%.  80% of them are metriculating to college and then that program is accused of being seditious.  I mean there is very little opportunity for compromise at that point."
And with comparable education debates going on in cities like Chicago and Santa Monica, the repercussions of this decision and its aftermath will reach far and wide.
"What Judge Tashima has done, is he has opened the door for the elimination of ethnic studies programs in the country.  There's no question about it," he said.
But Mireles maintains ethnic studies supporters have reason to hope.
"I think in the long run, it's going to strengthen the ethnic studies movement because what's going to happen is that people are going to have to make some very serious decisions about, you know, where they're loyal to."
Mireles adds, he recently took a teaching job at Prescott College here in Arizona, meaning he'll be keeping a much closer eye on how this all plays out.