Today’s Sunday edition of the TUSD wrap-up will cover multiple topics; all related, all important, and sadly, all disappointing.
TUSD board member Mark Stegeman almost lost it this week, clearly mad at Staff for doing something without their approval. Assistant Superintendent Abel Morado cements his new vendido role with his treatment of the retiring MAS teacher Curtis Acosta. We also get an update on the status of the future of MAS.
MALDEF needs to take TUSD to court for gross violations of USP
This whole Federal Desegregation process is a big joke, and I got the video to prove it.
It was a joke for the first 30 years that TUSD did nothing of importance to come into compliance but that did not stop the white Republican-appointed Federal Judge Bury from thinking no racism was taking place in Tucson’s largest school district and thus lifting the Deseg Order in 2009.
He was humiliated by the Ninth Circuit who slapped the Deseg Order back onto TUSD in 2011 after MALDEF appealed. This time around Bury appointed a Special Master, a white retired professor from Maryland who is an expert with white/black education but who knows nothing about Mexican American issues, and could probably care less based on his history and my own conversation with him.
This is evidenced by his appointment in January 2012, and then a few days later TUSD defying the Post-Unitary Status Plan which calls for the EXPANSION of Mexican American Studies and banning the federal court-required program.
The Special Master did NOTHING.
In fact, word from insiders was that Special Master Hawley actually did not want any MAS classes at all since that would compete with his own “Multicultural Curriculum” experiment he wanted to test on the Latino lab rats in Tucson. To be fair, there was no other MAS program at the high-school level in the country, but there were other Special Masters who did have experience with TUSD’s MAS program. These were the Special Masters the Latino Plaintiffs, who make up 61% of the district, requested, but were overruled by the TUSD and Fisher Plaintiffs. So instead we got a noob who saw nothing wrong with MAS being banned despite the legal document he was supposed to be enforcing at the time.
Then it came time to write the new Deseg Plan, known as the Unitary Status Plan.
Finally, after massive community input, the position of DIRECTOR to deal with the “Culturally Relevant Courses” (CRC) was put into the federal court order. The reason for this was so the Special Master could continue his experiment with Auggie Romero in charge of the Multicultural Curriculum as Director; which is verified by his email signature and the TUSD website.
Also notice that there is NO ONE in charge of the CRC part of the Deseg Order, the part that the COMMUNITY fought so hard to get!
Why did the community want a separate director?
Briefly, this history goes back to April 2012 when TUSD was preparing to fire the MAS Director Sean Arce. TUSD board member Miguel Cuevas, frustrated, let it slip that the plan was apparently to replace Arce and MAS with Romero and MC (multicultural) after Sugiyama apparently changed his mind and voted to not fire Arce.
From this moment on, MC was seen as the water-down replacement for MAS. The Mexican American Studies program was created by the local Tucson community to address local problems in education. It was created under the original Desegregation Order and was federally protected. It was already a great injustice that the most successful program in the nation to bridge the achievement gap was unfairly taken from us.
(Article continued below)
Since MAS was banned by the state, it was seen as a clever compromise by the Special Master to require “Culturally Relevant Classes” in the new plan. To ensure that the CRC classes would indeed by the new incarnation of the MAS classes, the community fought hard to gain a few inches, but progress nonetheless. That was the inclusion of Latino experiences and upgrading of the the person in charge from a program “coordinator” to a Director.
There was also a fear that Auggie Romero would be in charge of it all, and that the distinction between CRC and MC would be lost, as would any hope of any MAS courses returning; even if MAS-lite.
As the year 2012 came to an end, this was the best we had to hope for even though the TUSD board still objected to this part of the USP.
The new year brought a new board, a “pro-MAS majority” and it seemed better days were ahead.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The new board did nothing to stop the massive barrio school closures, nor did they vote to undo the Hicks Resolution of January 10th, 2012 that banned MAS classes, nor did they vote to unban the 7 banned books in TUSD.
By April 1st, 2013 the CRC director was to have been appointed. This person was to work closely with the Multicultural Director, but they were also supposed to distinct with a separate program. This person, after all, had to create core classes in Mexican American and African American literature and history; what the community calles MAS-lite in dealing with the Mexican American part.
Teachers thought that the CRC director would then have two people in charge of the Mexican American and African American component. The task ahead was huge, with these classes being required at ALL HIGH SCHOOLS in the 2013-2014 year, then all Junior Highs the following year, and then all schools the following year.
To be clear, TUSD already knows how to complete this task, and that is basically to do what they did before the targeted and racist state law came into effect. Even if the subject matter had to change, the structure in place before worked.
The problem is what the community feared would happen, and indeed it did. Auggie Romero took over everything, and thus all the blame and responsibility lies upon his inability to check his ego and allow those who created the successful MAS program do their job. In fact, all of the teachers refuse to work with Romero especially as he makes his anti-Save Ethnic Studies (SES) stance known with his support of the character assassination of Latino teachers such as Sean Arce and Rudy Acuña.
You can read Proof that TUSD is violating USP and half-assing the return of CRC-MAS for more on that. Why any national educators would work with someone who is anti-SES is beyond me, but their own reputations are at stake.
April 1st came and went, and there was no CRC director, nor even any announcement of the job opening. There was growing support for one of the MAS teachers to takeover this position, and that was a compromise for working with Romero. But that never happened either.
By May 1st, which is only three months before Fall Semester starts, the Director and Teachers and Curriculum and Classes are supposed to be ready to go. Read In one week: New TUSD Desegregation Order and Special Master = FAIL for more on that fiasco.
This is the part I do not understand. MALDEF successfully appealed to the Ninth Circuit and they GOT LESS in return! Why are they satisfied with these table scraps that Pedicone is throwing to Latinos as if we were dogs. We had the filet mignon of MAS, then we had to compromise with Hamburger Helper with MAS-lite courses, but now we have NOTHING. It is almost as if MALDEF is turning anti-SES themselves as they support this great injustice against Latino students. When will they hold TUSD responsible?
While the mainstream media seems to be ignoring the USP and the deadlines within, Three Sonorans is watching every step of the way, and this wakeup call may have led to the fireworks that we witnessed at the TUSD board meeting on April 23rd.
Continue to next page.