Many Democrats seem to be afraid to use the R-word when describing what is happening in Arizona.
They prefer to call racists in our government “extremists” or use other terms to avoid being direct. SB1070 was not racist but rather bad Republican legislation by that rascally Russell Pearce. Sheriff Arpaio is not racist, he just abuses his power, etc.
When Tim Wise spoke recently at the UA regarding White Privilege and Anxiety, he kept using a more direct word than even racism that explains what is going on today.
This is what led to slavery and Manifest Destiny; the notion that Whites are superior to other races and thus have a right to be unjust, unfair, and even inhumane to darker-skinned peoples.
After slavery came segregation, “separate but equal” nonsense that was meant to keep people separated based on the pigmentation of their skin, and of course there was no such thing as “equal” with facilities for Whites getting the Superior treatment with the blessing of the Supreme Court.
Today Tucson Unified School District remains segregated. Racism never ended in TUSD.
In the year 2012, Tucson’s largest school district, which is 61% Latino but run by superintendent John Pedicone, TUSD school board President Mark Stegeman and TUSD school board Clerk Michael Hicks, is under a Federal Desegregation order.
It would be one thing if things were “separate but equal” but nothing could be further from the truth. Pueblo High School, just south of where Tucson’s two freeways merge, is over 95% minority and cannot even celebrate Cesar Chavez on a Saturday morning since it is a “political event.” Meanwhile Sabino High School, found in the foothills of northeastern Tucson, can host a Republican debate hosted by very anti-MAS right-wing talk show host Jon Justice on a weekday just two weeks earlier.
This is hardly equal treatment at all, and the focus of just one of the Office of Civil Rights investigations into TUSD.
Mostly white schools have the liberty of reading Marx and Nietzsche, The Tempest and Bless Me, Ultima, while the MAS teachers are banned from teaching from them if issues of “race, class, or oppression” are mentioned.
John Pedicone’s White Supremacy strikes again
Tucson High Magnet School is TUSD’s flagship school, the largest in Tucson and one that is constantly in the news; the PBS documentary “Precious Knowledge” also takes place at THMS.
Right now Tucson HS needs a principal after the previous one, Dr. Abel Morado, was promoted to assistant superintendent.
After the applications were submitted, there was a very qualified candidate for the position, a former Badger himself with principal experience at Cholla HS.
He had only one fault, and that is that he was Latino.
Tucson High Magnet School is the largest high school in the Tucson Unified School District—so why is the administration watering down the criteria in the search for the school’s next principal?
At the TUSD board meeting on May 8, Tucson High staffer Margaret Chaney asked governing-board members that very question during the call to the audience. Chaney said she and other staff members had recently received an email stating that the search process—which had already gone through the typical channels—was going to start all over again.
“‘Since the applicants were not what we were looking for, we will actually lessen or decrease the necessary qualifications for the position for heading the largest high school in the district,’” Chaney said, reading from that district email. “… I’m wondering what possible purpose this can have on my co-workers and my students when we are constantly hearing we must raise standards and raise expectations. How does any leader who does not meet the minimal standards take us to the next level? If local applicants did not suffice, please explain what efforts were made nationally to find someone to fill the void left behind by the honorable Dr. Morado.”
via Tucson Weekly.
Why are people speaking out at the TUSD board meeting about the THS application process, and why is TUSD lowering the standards when it demands higher standards from the students?
In a nutshell, this is what seems to have happened at TUSD regarding Ben’s Bells in the past year. After the Giffords shooting, Ben’s Bells began to gain in popularity. Ron Barber really liked the program.
Then came the May 3rd incident which some call the TUSD Tragedy. People were calling for Pedicone’s resignation and to fix his image, Pedicone had a meeting with top Democrats from the Civility Fund, including Janet Marcotte from the YWCA and Ron Barber. Marcotte told me they have a wonderful new plan that will change everything.
It seems that plan was to put Ben’s Bells murals all over the district as if that would magically hide all the racism and segregation taking place. So for the previous school year, Ben’s Bells got a huge makeover in more ways than one. The Civility Fund started spending the money it raised to promote Ben’s Bells, then Ben’s Bells gets a new home, prime real estate at the historic Brown House downtown which they should be forbidden from being in since it is only for cultural organizations. Then they got thousands in free renovations.
The reason for building up Ben’s Bells is to make it into the “official” group for kindness in Tucson, a sort of Nobel Peace Prize for Tucsonans. And just as Henry Kissinger got the Peace Prize while illegally invading Cambodia, Ben’s Bells was used to justify the racist acts of these SALC leaders running the schools and organizations.
The most blatant example of this came earlier this year. Just one month after TUSD kills the Mexican American Studies program, just one month after Pedicone has his posse go into the classrooms, in front of the students, and have their books taken away, boxed up in boxes marked “banned books,” it was at this time that John Pedicone was awarded a Ben’s Bells.
What was “kind” about what Pedicone did?
Not only does Ben’s Bells get major infusions of money and celebrity status for justifying racism by awarding weapons of MAS destruction with “Be Kind” awards, the co-founder also gets special treatment that is not afforded to minorities.
At the heart of the controversy is something that most folks wouldn’t think of as controversial—the Ben’s Bells Project, which promotes acts of kindness. The project includes delivering bells to schools to be given to students who pass the “kindness” test.
Ben’s Bells was started by Jeannette Maré and Dean Packard as a way to celebrate the life of their son Ben, who died at age 2 after a bout with croup. Bells are distributed throughout the city to remind folks to be kind or to honor folks who have been kind.
Some sources say that a mistake was not made in the posting during the first search. Instead, the administration wanted a specific person for the job—but that person didn’t have the three years of experience as a principal or assistant principal. That person, I was told, was Dean Packard, who has been a Tucson High assistant principal for two years.
I emailed Packard last week asking for comment, but hadn’t heard back from him as of our press time.
The sources also said that two of the top three candidates from the original posting (but not Packard, the third member of the top three) were told they were not allowed to reapply. When I asked Rene about that, she wrote back: “No. Not true. Anyone who applied in the initial posting will still have their application considered, unless they notified the district to have their application withdrawn.”
The Tucson Weekly then nails the contradiction in what Pedicone was doing in this process.
Pedicone added: “I can tell you that none of the candidates in the first round were acceptable. We attempted to reopen and seek out more possibilities with fewer years of experience, hoping that a superstar would express interest. None of those candidates, while possessing many strong qualities, are acceptable, so we are rethinking the posting and the approach. The principal at Tucson High is extremely important to this district. We must find the right person to lead this school forward. … That is where we stand at this point.”
Pedicone’s statement is interesting, because it would seem to disqualify Packard, a first-round candidate, as unacceptable.
However, that explanation doesn’t wash with one source: “Look, Dean Packard applied when there was a three-year requirement. The bar was lowered to fit Dean.”
First Tucson HS had applicants in the first round that required principal experience. There was a very qualified Latino principal that was perfect for the job.
But Pedicone wanted Dean Packard, co-founder of Ben’s Bells.
So he calls a current TUSD principal who should be the next Tucson HS principal not acceptable. He did not call him “not qualified” mind you, but “not acceptable.”
He lowers the standards for the person who will run Tucson’s largest high school.
Then the second round opens up and lo and behold, as Three Sonorans and others predicted, the two finalists that were forwarded to John Pedicone was a highly qualified Latino and current Cholla HS principal, and a white person with NO principal experience…
… surprise surprise… Dean Packard! The co-founder of Ben’s Bells!
Then this is were it gets interesting. From what I understand, John Pedicone was only too happy to “be kind” to the lesser qualified white candidate, and when it became known that Pedicone was up to his good-ol-white-boy-network tricks, the former THMS principal who is now the assistant superintendent of high schools, pulls the two finalists, saying that he is not satisfied.
It seems the former THMS principal intervened to so that this clear act of white supremacy would not be completed.
Not only does Packard not have principal experience, he is also not bilingual at a school that is mostly minority. So why does Pedicone want Tucson HS to have a lesser qualified principal?
Just to add another puppet to the Pedicone Posse?
As a result of this white supremacy, Tucson’s largest high school will begin the next school year without a principal, even though there has been a qualified and experienced principal who seems to excel in both rounds of applications.
But he is Latino.
And this is Pedicone’s TUSD, where Mexican American History is banned but European History continues due to White Supremacy, home of segregated schools and civil rights investigations in the year 2012.
Sadly it is the students that must suffer for all this racism.
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