Free and Open to the Public

Screening of Precious Knowledge and Conversation with MAS teacher, Curtis Acosta

November 6, 5:30 pm.

Swarthmore College

Kohlberg Hall, Scheuer Room.

Precious Knowledge portrays one of the final years of the highly successful but controversial Mexican American Studies (MAS) Program at Tucson High School. The program was a national model of educational success—93% of its enrolled students graduated from high school and 85% went on to attend college, bucking a statewide trend that saw only 48% of Latino students graduating at all. The program taught Mexican and American history, as well as Central and South American literature and culture. But the political tide shifted in Arizona in the 2000s, and in the midst of controversial state-level immigration reform lawmakers turned their attention to Tucson High’s ethnic studies program, and MAS in particular. Opponents of the program launched a campaign to convince the public that ethnic studies teach everything from communism to terrorism to “reverse racism.” The film follows some of the students and educators who fought to save their program and to provide Ethnic Studies for everyone.

The movie screening will be followed with a Q&A (via Skype) with Tucson MAS teacher Curtis Acosta* and a discussion of Ethnic Studies here at Swarthmore.

Food provided by Taqueria Michoacana (Norristown)

Sponsored by ENLACE,  Educational Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Latin American Studies.

For more information contact Edwin Mayorga,

Follow: #TeacherLives and #SaveEthnicStudies


*CurtisAcosta was a high school teacher for nearly 20 years in Tucson, where he developed and taught Chican@/Latin@ Literature classes for the renowned Mexican American Studies program in the Tucson Unified School District.In response to the elimination of Mexican American Studies in Tucson, Curtis created the Chican@ Literature, Art and Social Studies (CLASS) program where high school students receive free college credit through a partnership with Prescott College. He is also the founder of the Acosta Latino Learning Partnership; an educational consultation firm committed to help educators create empowering and engaging pedagogical practices in their classrooms and schools, along with being a founding member of the newly established Xican@ Institute for Teaching and Organizing (XITO). XITO is a sponsored program through Prescott College that strives to support the Xican@/Latin@ community through teacher preparation, social justice pedagogy, and community organizing.


In Lak’ech

Luís Valdez

Tú eres mi otro yo.
You are my other me.
Si te hago daño a ti,
If I do harm to you,
Me hago daño a mi mismo.
I do harm to myself.
Si te amo y respeto,
If I love and respect you,
Me amo y respeto yo.
I love and respect myself.

From the poem Pensamiento Serpentino por Luis Valdez

For more go to:’ech-you-are-my-other


precious knowledge poster