A Plan for Culturally Responsive Advocacy Leadership

The Advocacy Plan

The state of Arizona endorsees the course that district and charter schools can offer through the state academic standards described in Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 15-701. In 2010 Dolores Huerta gave a controversial speech at Tucson school, which cited hate for Hispanics by Republicans. The speech led to racial tension in the state’s academic curriculum, which ended with HB 2281. The bill intended to ban Mexican-American studies and promote a standard educational curriculum and reduce the alleged political influence (Cabrera et al., 2014).  In 2013 a repeal for the bill lost, and the state court of Arizona upheld the provisions of House Bill 2281, which has surged debates concerning racial perspective in the States’ education system. The House Bill 2281 restricts district and charter schools in Arizona to offer specific courses or classes which;

Promote the overthrow of the United States government. Promote resentment toward a race or class of people. Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group. Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals (Arizona House of Representatives, HB 2281, 2010).


Problem Statement

HB 2281 has had adverse ramifications, which concern cultural responsiveness. Firstly, it attempts to legally discriminate against Mexican-Americans since the bill was focused on eliminating only Mexican-American studies. This is an essentialization of some ethnic studies since the bill did not profile others like African-American studies. Secondly, HB 2281 does not promote a culturally aware generation. It limits generations the opportunity to learn and appreciate the cultural successes of each ethnic group. Thirdly, it devoid Arizonian students of the beneficence of ethnic studies, such as better student achievement (Cabrera et al., 2014). Fourthly, the law aggravates the pre-existing racial discrimination and prejudice in schools in the state of Arizona and the nation at large. Thus, this advocacy plan identifies a cultural unresponsiveness situation in Arizona schools, which creates a loophole for legally and socially propagating racial discrimination and limiting the cultural awareness of future generations besides robbing them of the benefits associated with ethnic studies.

Advocacy Objective

My objective for this advocacy is to repeal HB 2281 to ensure a culturally responsive education curriculum.

Advocacy Rationale

Culturally responsive in the context of pedagogy as a cultural acknowledgment of the past experiences and the capabilities of ethnic groups that are relevant to the performance of a student (Gay, 2010). Therefore, this advocacy plan aims at establishing a student-centered learning approach, which is conscious of the ethnic backgrounds of all students. Such an approach is relevant and has benefits ranging from socio-cultural identity to academic performance.

Culturally responsive learning is relevant to pedagogy professions and students. A study on 315 students between sixth and 12th grade found that culturally relevant teaching is significantly associated with academic outcomes and ethnic-racial identity development (Byrd, 2020). A recent study on 143 primary school teachers found a significant relationship between teachers’ multicultural attitude and their perspective-taking capabilities (Abacioglu et al., 2019). Both studies help in concluding that a culturally responsive perspective in schooling is relevant and foster benefits for all students, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds.

In other studies, cultural responsiveness has revealed improved student achievements. For instance, Cabrera et al. (2014) found that ethnic studies served the Mexican Americans, particularly as academic ad-on. The study further related the Mexican American Studies (MAS) program to Arizona state standardized tests and found that students who underwent MAS were more likely to graduate from high school and pass standardized tests than those who did not (Cabrera et al., 2014). Wearmouth adds that literacy and context are inseparable, and thus, culturally responsive pedagogy fosters literacy learning in schools (2014). Moosmann et al. (2014) relate to Wearmouth (2017) with data from 749 Mexican American families that revealed literacy and comprehension for Mexican American children up to tenth grade was lagged being by language hassles.

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A culturally responsive schooling experience also ensures a focus on the predominant value of cultural practices. Cultural diversity has its benefits, such as the formation of hybrid intercultural practices, which multicultural nations like the US are proud of. According to Wearmouth, culturally responsive education systems ensure students “learn to speak, think, read and write within their own cultural contexts” (2017, p.4). This has many benefits including a positive ethnic-racial appreciation, capable of reducing racial tensions and prejudice (Thomas et al. 2009). Another study concluded from deep semi-structured interviews that culturally oriented education system reclaimed academic and identity space for Latinos (Marrun, 2018).

Overall, the repeal of HB 2281 will ensure culturally responsive learning, which (1) is already relevant to both students and teachers, (2) improves students’ academic achievements, and (3) appreciates the predominant value of cultural practices for Mexican Americans.

Advocacy Approach

Repealing HB 2281 requires a strategic advocacy plan, which must identify the ideal allies, utilize feasible tactics, and incorporate the values overlooked by the bill. In this case, I would focus on non-native Americans; immigrants and legislatures are the primary audiences, secondary to the general Arizonian population. The non-native Americans and immigrants relate to the cultural responsiveness in schools best, as they are the victims of its limitations and would become beneficiaries of the repeal. Legal citizens in this category are critical since they have the electro powers to change the makeup structure of the legislature by voting or vetoing the bill (Bertelli & Carson, 2011). Further, the lawmakers who have indicated dissatisfaction with the bill are crucial allies for the advocacy. Lobbying with them has a direct impact on ensuring a three-fourths superiority vote to repeal the bill. Also, the support of the general population would help in supporting the advocacy agenda to ensure a culturally responsive education system in the state.

I would leverage relationship building and persuasive communication through both online and offline platforms to make the issue personal and straightforward for everyone to relate to. Relationships are essential for this plan since people within my network are more likely to relate to the advocacy ideologies than those who are not. Thus, I would leverage the existing relationships to appeal for volunteering work throughout the campaign and for them to vote or donate where applicable. Also, I would anticipate creating more relationships, which would make lobbying for the repeal less challenging. Persuasive communication would play a critical role in the campaigning phase so that people can understand the facts and ramifications of HB 2281 and relate to their situations. Blogs and social media would be useful tools for the advocacy campaign, where the sharing of campaign messages and blogs would help reach everyone in the state and create awareness. That way, I would garner more support to establish a wave of state legislative change. For this reason, I ought to learn the principles of deep canvassing and leadership communication strategies that foster influence. 

I would be keen to keep the advocacy agenda at the core of the plan, such that the approach demonstrates the advantages and needs of cultural responsiveness. For instance, I would ensure that the advocacy plan does not promote racial prejudice or tension. The goal would be to bring all racial groups together, to appreciate the importance of ethnic identity, which HB 2281 has deliberately limited for the Mexican Americans. My allies would be people who align with the advocacy agenda and not racially identified. I would make sure not to advocate for privileges but justice for all races.


The highlights for this exercise concern the beneficence of a culturally responsive education system. For instance, cultural responsiveness improves students’ academic achievements and appreciates predominant values of cultural practices for Mexican Americans. In the future, as I hope to serve as a professor and a faculty member, I will advocate for culturally responsive programs within the institutions within the US. I will appeal for such programs by creating awareness to relevant individuals such as students, teachers, and parents about the ramifications of decisions made regarding their ethnic identity. I will focus on relationship building to ensure an extensive network, which I can leverage for influencing imperfect education legislatures.


Abacioglu, C., Volman, M., & Fischer, A. (2019). Teachers’ multicultural attitudes and perspective taking abilities as factors in culturally responsive teaching. British Journal Of Educational Psychology90(3), 736-752. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12328

Arizona House of Representatives, HB 2281, (2010) Retrieved from https://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/summary/h.hb2281_05-03-10_astransmittedtogovernor.doc.htm#:~:text=HB%202281%20prohibits%20a%20school,race%20or%20class%20of%20people.

Bertelli, A., & Carson, J. (2011). Small changes, big results: Legislative voting behavior in the presence of new voters. Electoral Studies30(1), 201-209. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2011.01.002

Byrd, C. (2020). Does Culturally Relevant Teaching Work? An Examination From Student Perspectives. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244016660744

Cabrera, N., Milem, J., Jaquette, O., & Marx, R. (2014). Missing the (Student Achievement) Forest for All the (Political) Trees. American Educational Research Journal51(6), 1084-1118. https://doi.org/10.3102/0002831214553705

Gay, G. (2010). Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research and Practice. Ed. ke-2. New York: Teachers College Press.

Marrun, N. (2018). The power of ethnic studies: portraits of first-generation Latina/o students carving out un sitio and claiming una lengua. International Journal Of Qualitative Studies In Education31(4), 272-292. https://doi.org/10.1080/09518398.2017.1422288

Moosmann, D., Roosa, M., & Knight, G. (2014). Generational patterns in Mexican Americans’ academic performance in an unwelcoming political context. Journal Of Applied Developmental Psychology35(2), 102-110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2013.11.005

Thomas, O. N., Caldwell, C. H., Faison, N. & Jackson, J. S. (2009). Promoting academic achievement: The role of racial identity in buffering perceptions of teacher discrimination on academic achievement among African American and Caribbean Black adolescents. Journal of Educational Psychology 101, 420-431.

Wearmouth, J. (2017). Employing culturally responsive pedagogy to foster literacy learning in schools. Curriculum & Teaching Studies4(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2017.1295824