The following message was also sent to each of the TUSD board members.
April 10, 2012
John J. Pedicone
Tucson Unified School District
1010 E. Tenth St.
Tucson, AZ 85719
Dear Superintendent Pedicone,
We write today to express our support for Mr. Sean Arce, the Director of Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies program.
As you are well aware, the TUSD MAS program has been a controversial topic in Tucson and throughout the state. However, the MAS program’s success and the successes of the students who participate in the program are issues that overshadow the controversy and the misunderstandings of the program and what it is all about.
The MAS program serves a student body that is 61% Latino – a population that has struggled with educational achievement in this state for some time. Yet, remarkably, the achievement gap has been bridged for students who participate in the MAS program. Standardized test scores, graduation rates, and rates of students who go on to attend college have all improved and in some cases surpassed the rates of students who do not participate in the MAS program. Even more encouraging, is the level of engagement the student participants have shown in their own studies and desires to further their education.
Mr. Sean Arce, as the MAS program’s director, deserves much of the credit for the successes of many of these students and in fact he has been recognized for his leadership on a national level, having just received the Myles Horton Award from the Zinn Education Project for his leadership of the MAS program. Mr. Arce has motivated these kids to not only complete their education, but to love learning and continue educating themselves after they leave high school.
We understand now that Mr. Arce is one of several certified administrators whose contracts are on your agenda for non-renewal of his contract. Although we understand the difficult role a school board has in making personnel decisions, especially given difficult budgetary situations, to dismiss Mr. Arce would be a tremendous disappointment and detriment to the students of TUSD, the people of Tucson, and the state of Arizona. We urge you to reconsider the impact Mr. Arce has made on many students’ lives in his work in TUSD and consider renewing his contract.
Mr. Arce encouraged children to fight for their right to learn. Where else have we seen children be so passionate and dedicated to their K-12 educations? He has accomplished something special in Tucson and we hope he is given the opportunity to continue his work.
Representative Martín J. Quezada Legislative District #13
Representative Catherine Miranda Legislative District #16
Representative Bruce Wheeler Legislative District #28
Representative Sally Gonzales Legislative District #27
Representative Macario Saldate Legislative District #27