Stats, Social Justice, and the Limits of Interest Convergence: The Story of Tucson Unified’s Mexican American Studies Litigation

  • Nolan L. Cabrera University of Arizona
  • Robert S. Chang Seattle University
Keywords: Mexican American Studies; Ethnic Studies; regression analysis; interest convergence; HB2281; ARS § 15-112


In 2011, the state of Arizona banned the highly successful Tucson Unified School District Mexican American Studies program through the law ARS § 15-112. This article is a Critical Race Theory counternarrative regarding the role of statistics in the constitutional challenge to this state law. Through firsthand accounts of this process, we demonstrate how multivariate empirical analyses served as an important component for the overturning of the law ARS § 15-112 in the highest-profile Ethnic Studies legal case in the country’s history (Arce v. Douglas, 2015). We also use this article to explore the limitations of interest convergence (Bell, 1980) using this litigation as a case study.