Transparency is supposed to be a good thing in government.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly who is influencing your elected officials, for example on the TUSD governing board.
Consider this: On January 10th, 2012, 100% of the speakers at the call to the audience were in support of Mexican American Studies. This is the time when our elected officials are supposed to listen to the citizens and make their decisions after seriously considering what the citizens want.
Instead, you have almost complete support for MAS at TUSD in public with the board still voting against the educational program. Board members make reference to others who are telling them to kill the program.
Where are they?
They used to come in the past, but now they just pull their strings from behind the scenes.
It seems not to matter what our community has to say at the call to the audience. Their minds are already made up, their speeches are already written, the votes already secured.
There are other ways to communicate with board members, and that is in public also. Consider the letter written by former board members that will be delivered to the board today in support of MAS and Sean Arce.
Governing Board President Mark Stegeman declined to comment on the letter until he had an opportunity to view it, but he did say that he acknowledges that “the current board is changing the district’s direction. I respect the work of the previous boards, but change must come to TUSD.”
The letter went on to advise the board against conducting individual media interviews and taking personnel action pertaining to Mexican American Studies.
One such personnel action is the consideration of whether to renew the contracts of numerous employees for the upcoming school year, to include that of Mexican American Studies Director Sean Arce.
The board is expected to vote on the issue tonight, although it was not clear Monday how many contracts would be up for consideration.
That vote, paired with Hicks’ appearance on the “Daily Show,” is expected to bring out numerous supporters of Mexican American Studies before the meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
As part of the protests, burritos will be handed out to Mexican American Studies supporters as inspired by Hicks, who noted while on “The Daily Show” that every week the teachers would “go out and buy burritos and feed these kids.”
Not even this input before the board meeting will matter.
Mark Stegeman’s beautiful mind is made up, narrow-visioned and lacking empathy of the community and children his lack of mirror neurons is affecting.
The anti-MAS forces do not need to be out in public. They have the ears of the board members behind the scenes.
This is how conflict arises.
Consider last year, when UNIDOS would come to board meeting after board meeting, speaking at the call to the audience, engaging in civil discourse… but they were still ignored.
Then came April 2011 when Mark Stegeman wanted to dismantle MAS. When ignored, the people will revolt, and that led to the board takeover by UNIDOS on April 26th.
A week later was Pedicone’s Payback at the TUSD Tragedy, hundreds of cops in riot gear suppressing free speech and throwing underage girls in the air, leaving them bloodied and bruised.
Now it is a year later, 520 years after 1492 when this cultural genocide began. With the long count of the Mesoamerican calendar lasting 52 years, the year 2012 marks the first “decade” (52 x 10) after the conquest began.
Ever since then, Europeans and their descendents have been trying to erase all remnants of what was already here. Books have been burned and banned, places of knowledge, from temples to classrooms, banned or destroyed.
Those teachers of the precious knowledge were attacked for holding on to that indigenous worldview that our earth needs so badly right now.
Think about what is going on today. This attack has been led from mostly older white men who think they know better. Horne, Huppenthal, Hicks, and Stegeman… I don’t recall either of them having experience teaching K-12.
But they know better, and they know what it takes to motivate Latinos from lower socio-economic classes to further their education. It’s called the high dropout rate that continues in TUSD, all the while a microscope is placed on the MAS program on whether it lowers graduation rates as their graduates go on to college and graduate school.
That is what is running TUSD today; a sickness, a horrible plague that continues hundreds of years later that wiped out almost all of the original Americans living here for millennia.
Racism, xenophobia, and genocide.
The TUSD board wants to vote in favor of Hicks’ resolution to ban Latino literature and history?
SHAME ON YOU!
What will happen today? Only time can tell, but I expect a whole bunch of free speech, a whole bunch of civic engagement, and as is the case in the United States, a strong police presence to silence those that speak.
There is something special about tonight though. Sean Arce is the only thing we have left in the MAS program. After you knock him out, we have nothing left to lose.
When there is nothing left to lose, there is no fear of losing what you have, and thus you can fight with all that you have!
What is Pedicone going to do? Cancel MAS classes?
Any society is only three missed meals away from a revolution, and we are now entering the third month that the MAS students have been starving for their books and knowledge. Previous generations got access to what they are now denied, other cultures are allowed access to their literature this semester while Latinos get denied.
There are only 5 board members and a superintendent who lives in Oro Valley. The district of 50,000 is 61% Latino.
Time to reclaim our voice and our power. This is our community after all.