MAS is not CRC: Anger grows as TUSD says it will not bring back MAS if it wins in Federal Court

Two years ago there was an editorial in the Arizona Daily Star by the chair of TUSD’s Audit Committee entitled Time for TUSD to stop making unforced errors. As a result of going public, HT Sanchez and his board retaliated and had this person kicked off the audit committee.

Now as a new fiscal year kicks off in 2017, it appears that TUSD is still making unforced errors, but now the issue has to deal with racism and segregation and anger against TUSD administration is growing nationwide.

By Arnie Bermudez

The issue at hand has to do with the highly successful Mexican American Studies program, which was mandated by the Federal Court by the Desegregation Order approved in 2009.

  • In 2010, Arizona passed HB2281, the Ethnic Studies ban
  • In 2011, the State Superintendent used the new powers given to him in this bill to ban the MAS program in TUSD
  • In 2012, TUSD banned the MAS program
  • In 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case back to the Tucson federal court to investigate “racial animus” on the part of the state of Arizona
  • In 2017 (right now), the MAS case is ongoing in Tucson federal court. Last week was the first week of trial and it continues again on July 17th. In the first week, news went statewide as the highly racially-charged comments by John Huppenthal were presented in federal court.

In light of this controversy with racial tensions increased, TUSD decides to tell Arizona’s largest newspaper that even if MAS wins their case, the district will not be bringing back the innocent program that was put on death row, leaving Southern Arizona’s largest district to being the final party that gives the lethal injection!

When MAS was first banned it was only after a year of protests and forums and pushback and division in our community. If TUSD Administrators were smart, they would have kept out of this issue; if MAS loses its case there is no need to say anything about it since the federal courts made the decision for you.

Instead, Stefanie Boe says that MAS is not returning to TUSD in any scenario. TUSD has a new Culturally Relevant Curriculum approved by the state that suffices. One commenter had the following to say in response.

JULY 4, 2017 AT 5:59 PM
My daughter was fortunate enough to be able to attend MAS classes at Tucson High Magnet School.The MAS teachers and courses changed her life. Actually, the impact of the courses impacted all of us in very positive ways. We are an upper middle class white family who never paid much attention to other cultures. MAS literature and social studies inspired my daughter to value and appreciate her own culture while also valuing and appreciating the Mexican culture, its rich literature and history. There was never a hint of hate spewed in her classes. Her MAS classes opened the door (and our hearts) to the study and appreciation of other cultures and religions.
My daughter blossomed intellectually because of the MAS courses she took but more importantly, she blossomed socially and took us along with her.
My youngest son has been enrolled in Culturally Relevant courses this last year. I do not see the same level of engagement from his teachers and his experience is totally different than my daughter’s. He says he got cheated and I agree.
I think TUSD has gone backwards during the last 4 to 5 years with administrators like Boe. As a taxpaying TUSD mom, I do not agree with her message and hope that someone will hold her accountable.
MAS as it was and its teachers, as they were, need to return to TUSD.

The emphasis is mine above, but it becomes the first of incoming data from parents who had children in both MAS and CRC, and for many reasons that would require a book on pedagogy to explain, parents and students are noticing that MAS is NOT CRC. In a nutshell, there is a lot more to classes than just the curriculum.

There are many more comments that express disapproval with Stefanie Boe’s statement to the Arizona Republic. Lillian Fox, who has attended just about every board meeting this decade, said:

It’s hard to understand what motivated Stephanie Boe to make her statement about MAS. I can’t believe Acting Superintendent Trujillo directed her to make the statement and the Board can’t do that without a vote.
Dr. Trujillo would be unlikely to make a public statement on TUSD’s position on MAS without consulting the TUSD Governing Board. No single member, not even the president of the Board is authorized to take public positions for TUSD.
Besides, there’s no reason for Dr. Trujillo or the Board to make any statements about MAS before the Court has announced its decision!

Other comment excerpts include:

  • Stefanie Boe is to TUSD what Steve Bannon is to Donald Trump. Her bias, as it pertains to people of color is one which has been quite obvious for quite some time.
  • If Stephanie Boe’s statement is NOT official, then it should be considered immediate grounds for dismissal as her actions are insubordinate coming from the Director of Communications.
  • Either Boe is speaking as a lone wolf, still pretending that she is empowered which is a hangover from the Sanchez era or the current Board voted and gave her direction to proclaim that MAS would never be brought back to TUSD.
  • Boe does not understand any of these legal implications and should stop speaking from her bigoted framework. She is actually agreeing with what are socially proven bigots- Horne and Huppenthal- who will hopefully, soon to be legally proven bigots- which makes her one and the same. Is this who should be the spokesperson for TUSD?!

More unforced errors for TUSD… we expect community members to attend the next board meeting on July 11th to express their opposition to Stefanie Boe’s statements in person.

Originally published at TSON News.

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