Sean Arce, who helped create one of the most notable and well-received K-12 Mexican-American studies programs in the United States, will be the featured speaker at HCC Central’s kick off to its new Mexican-American/Latino Studies program 8 a.m., Thursday, June 6.
Arce will give two lectures about his role in co-founding the Mexican-American Studies (MAS) program in the Tucson (Ariz.) Unified School District in 1998. He will speak from 8 to 9:30 a.m. in Room 100 of HCC Central’s Learning Hub Science Building, 1300 Holman St.; and from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. at HCC Central’s Willie Lee Gay Hall, 1990 Airport Blvd, Houston, 77051. Admission is free to both events.
HCC, HCC’s College Activities Board, HCC’s Mexican American Studies and Librotraficante are sponsoring Arce’s lectures.
Arce and other supporters of Tucson’s Mexican-American Studies program say teaching history and culture to Mexican-American K-12 students helped students achieve a 93% high-school graduation rate and improved their rates of college matriculation when compared to Mexican-American students not in the program.
Tucson’s MAS program was dismantled by House Bill 2281, which outlawed courses designed primarily for students of one ethnic group. The bill became Arizona state law under public protest in January 2012.
Arce, a former football player for San Jose State, enrolled in the Mexican-American studies program at the University of Arizona at his wife’s urging. The experience, he says, opened his eyes and changed his life. Arce and other college students began making plans to introduce MAS at the K-12 level, and successfully launched the program in 1998.
Arce will discuss ongoing efforts to combat HB 2281, as well as the challenges faced by MAS program instructors and students.
HCC Central is the second college – after HCC Southeast – to offer a Mexican-American/ Latino Studies program. Courses in the new Mexican-American/Latino studies program at HCC Central will debut in fall 2013.
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