Federal Desegregation Order against TUSD
In the late 1960s, Raul Grijalva was one of the handful of Chicanos that could be found at the University of Arizona and together this small group started a local chapter of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA). Translated it basically means it is a Chicano Student movement, and it was needed, with less than 100 Chicanos attending the UA in those times.
One of the demands of MEChA was the creation of Chicano Studies. Schools were even much worse back then when it came to learning any of the history that took place here before Manifest Destiny, before the mythical cowboys came to tame the Wild West and take care of the savage indian problem.
One story I recall is that schools on the southside got their books from the northside schools who were discarding them because they were getting new editions. There are many stories of racial injustice that you can find, and out of this movement arose Raul Grijalva who would run to become the first Chicano on the TUSD school board.
He lost in 1972 for being too radical, which was the year of the La Raza Unida party.
“La Raza” would be a term that would haunt him and TUSD even to this day four decades later.
Grijalva would end up serving three terms on the school board, the same number of terms his daughter Adelita Grijalva has served, having won her third term in 2010 which is up in 2014. This bit of information will be useful later.
It was under Raul’s term on the school board that TUSD fell under a deseg order, and in that time while he has risen to Pima County supervisor, then to US Congressman for his sixth term now, TUSD is still under this deseg order!
Now fast-forwarding to recent years, the TUSD school board adopted the Post-Unitary Plan in 2009. The only dissenting vote was that of Mark Stegeman who said that the reason he opposed the PUP was because it expanded Mexican American Studies.
Stegeman just won reelection this week.
There is a lot going on at this time in the last 4-6 years, but the focus here is on the deseg issue.
Just briefly, in 2006 was when the war on Ethnic Studies began with State Superintendent Tom Horne making it his top target. Three bills later, now with Governor Janet Napolitano’s veto gone after she moved to Homeland Security, Jan Brewer would sign HB2281 into law a few weeks after SB1070. That is another prong in history that merges with this story very soon.
Federal Judge Bury, based in Tucson, realized that TUSD was still under a deseg order after three decades, so he decided it was time to move. He ordered the parties involved to write up a Post-Unitary Plan; “unitary” being the term that refers to not being segregated anymore. Once the PUP was adopted, he would lift the deseg order and TUSD could move on in “good faith” as long as racism didn’t continue.
What many do not realize is that in Tucson, even with Democrats in charge of every level of government, including the school board, racism will always find a home and even protection by the enablers of racism.
In 2009, the deseg order is lifted.
In 2010, Arizona bans Ethnic Studies. This was the same year as SB1070 and other craziness, including the ban of teachers with accents by the Arizona Department of Education.
The lunatics had taken over the asylum.
Then something happened. Under the new rule of TUSD superintendent John Pedicone and school board president Mark Stegeman, the famous Ninth Court of Appeals, the same one that heard the super-important Mendez vs Westminster school desegregation which would be a precedent for the Brown v Board decision, reversed Judge Bury’s lifting of the deseg order on TUSD, placing it back under a federal deseg order since racism was still running rampant under Pedicone and Stegeman’s rule.
This was a huge embarrassment to Judge Bury who had his decision reversed. But Bury lives in Tucson, and as a powerful federal judge he enjoys access to the upper echelon of Tucson’s elite, such as members of SALC which John Pedicone was the Vice President of before taking over TUSD. Being a Republican appointee in the land of Arizona suggests a lot about one’s stance on issues related to Mexicans.
It was also a slap in the face to Pedicone, who is in charge of the district that the federal courts are calling segregated UNDER HIS WATCH.
As part of this Ninth Circuit decision, the PUP would remain in place until the Special Master’s new Unitary Status Plan gets revealed this Friday.
But this decision was in 2011, and under the PUP the MAS program was protected and it even states that it should be expanded.
Now those in charge of TUSD (Democrats) found themselves in a predicament that should not have existed, but remember this is a new racism that Tucson has created.
The Federal court order created and protects MAS, while a new state law tries to ban it. Any student of American Government will tell you that the Federal government trumps the state.
Any student of history will tell you that this is exactly the situation that is run into in the history of racism; the states’ rights vs federal orders trying to end segregation in the South.
With the federal government on their side against the state, what would the Democrats choose to do? On January 10th, after a recommendation by John Pedicone, the Hicks resolution was proposed which would ban MAS immediately. It passed 4-1 with Adelita voting NO.
Part of this order would be the immediate banning of books, which included 7 books that mentioned by name that cannot be taught out of at all, and any books that mentioned “race, class and oppression” which is what led assistant superintendent Abel Morado to ban The Tempest, Shakespeare’s story about colonization and slavery in the New World, from Curtis Acosta’s Latino Literature class.