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  • Ethnic chauvinism or modern civil rights struggle?

    Ethnic chauvinism or modern civil rights struggle?

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  • A tucson teen is empowered by ethnic studies.

    A tucson teen is empowered by ethnic studies.

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  • Finding a connection to community and self through ethnic studies.

    Finding a connection to community and self through ethnic studies.

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  • The lasting legacy of the Chicano American student walkouts.

    The lasting legacy of the Chicano American student walkouts.

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  • Mexican American/Raza studies students during a Phoenix protest

    Mexican American/Raza studies students during a Phoenix protest

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  • Crystal leads demonstrations to save the classes in front of Tucson High

    Crystal leads demonstrations to save the classes in front of Tucson High

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  • Mexican American/Raza Studies senior Crystal on graduation day

    Mexican American/Raza Studies senior Crystal on graduation day

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  • Crystal and Pricila in their Latino Literature class at Tucson High

    Crystal and Pricila in their Latino Literature class at Tucson High

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  • Mexican American/Raza studies teacher José Gonzalez and student Pricila in front of Tucson High

    Mexican American/Raza studies teacher José Gonzalez and student Pricila in front of Tucson High

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  • Students and community members participate in a traditional ceremonial run from Tucson to Phoenix

    Students and community members participate in a traditional ceremonial run from Tucson to Phoenix

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  • Mexican American/Raza studies student Mariah at an immigrants rights rally in Phoenix, Arizona

    Mexican American/Raza studies student Mariah at an immigrants rights rally in Phoenix, Arizona

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  • Arizona State Superintendent Tom Horne calls for the banning of ethnic studies classes in Tucson

    Arizona State Superintendent Tom Horne calls for the banning of ethnic studies classes in Tucson

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The Film

Precious Knowledge interweaves the stories of students in the Mexican American Studies Program at Tucson High School. While 48 percent of Mexican American students currently drop out of high school, Tucson High’s Mexican American Studies Program has become a national model of educational success, with 100 percent of enrolled students graduating from high school and 85 percent going on to attend college. The filmmakers spent an entire year in the classroom filming this innovative social-justice curriculum, documenting the transformative impact on students who become engaged, informed, and active in their communities.

As the nation turns its focus toward a wave of anti-immigration legislation in Arizona, the issue of ethnic chauvinism has become a double-edged weapon in a simmering battle. Arizona lawmakers recently passed a bill giving unilateral power to the State Superintendent to abolish ethnic studies classes.

Precious Knowledge provides an insider’s perspective student leaders fight to save their classes. The students are able to mobilize rapidly with texts, Facebook, optimism, and a megaphone.

Lawmakers and politicians a mount a public relations campaign to discredit the passionate students, claiming that Paulo Freire’s textbook The Pedagogy of the Oppressed teaches victimization and sedition. Officials ask that the classroom's Che Guevara posters be replaced with portraits of founding father Benjamin Franklin. Meanwhile, the students answer back by fighting for what they believe is the future of public education for the entire nation, especially as the Latino demographic continues to grow.

The Filmmakers

  1. Ari Luis PalosDirector
  2. Eren Isabel McGinnisProducer