A new year is upon us and 2014 will be the third year with the MAS-TUSD program after it was banned two years ago January 2012.
Half of those two years was with the old “anti-MAS” majority on the school board which was 4-1.
The last year was after an election were MAS was a huge issue and a new “pro-MAS majority” was chosen, ousting two incumbents.
This year Michael Hicks will have to defend his seat, but he has an advantage; he’s been on the Daily Show in one of the most watched episodes ever.
This was also H.T. Sanchez’s first semester as superintendent, and as he rightly reminded us many times, he was new to the job and many problems were left-over from the Pedicone-era, and excuse he’s allowed to make as the new Obama comes in to replace the bumbling Bush.
I have a lot of hope for the H.T. era. I think there was a steep learning curve as he had to realize what one historian at his first board meeting warned him of; the rampant White Supremacy at work in this state and on that board next to him.
So now that a year has passed, where do we stand with TUSD and desegregation compliance?
The CRPI director that is vacant… or is it?
When a judge or law professor reads the Constitution, they must also consider the original intent of the Founders when interpreting the law.
Such is the case with the Unitary Status Plan (USP), aka “Deseg Order,” which is easier to do since it was released less than a year ago with all the public forums taking place 14 months ago in November of 2012. At that time there was a unity with the Latino community and MALDEF that had to do with the controversial “Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Instruction Director” or CRPI Director. This position has also been referred to as “CRC Director” because this is the person in charge of the Culturally Relevant Courses that TUSD had to create.
On pages 35-36 of the USP there are 4 distinct directors created and mandated under federal court order, and they were supposed to have been filled by last July 2013 for the coming 13-14 school year.
- African American Support Services Director – Jimmy Hart
- Mexican American Support Services Director – Maria Figueroa
- Multicultural Curriculum Director – Augustine Romero
- Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Instruction Director – VACANT
To complicate matters more, the new Superintendent HT Sanchez put Adrian Vega in charge of “Teaching and Learning” and created a new position for Steve Holmes to be in charge of “Curriculum and Instruction.” Both of these are Assistant Superintendent-level positions.
Perhaps it was to make Sanchez’s life easier by putting someone in charge of these new curriculums that are under such scrutiny from the state. Thus that would make Steve Holmes the supervisor of both the Multicultural and CRPI Directors? But wouldn’t the person in charge of Teaching and Learning have some say over a Pedagogy Director?
So TUSD may be a top-heavy organization with too many administrators, but that has always been the case. The controversy for the past year has been TUSD’s reluctance to fill the CRPI Director, and one of those reasons may be because that was supposed to be the avenue for a return of MAS-like classes. That was certainly the intent at the public forums and what seemed to be MALDEF’s intent always when they issued their press release last year proclaiming victory; that the banned classes are now back in TUSD.
In the current issue of the Tucson Weekly which is also their cover story, the MALDEF attorney speaks about the CRPI/CRC Director vacancy.
“We’ve been very disappointed by the lack of good faith effort by the current administration. They seem resistant to the special master,” Ramirez said. “They are even resistant to filling the position for the Culturally Relevant Curriculum director. We’ve been asking when that position is going to be filled. Deadlines have not been met and we’re very concerned about that. The district is losing time and we want to see this plan get implemented so students can start to see, and we can see, results of academic achievement.
The Latina representative for the Mendoza family on the Deseg case is Sylvia Campoy, and she also made a point to mention the CRC Director vacancy.
Campoy said she experienced “about a week of euphoria” when Sanchez was hired. She said he seemed like someone who would make desegregation his top priority.
But instead, “They will drop $300,000 left and right for a P.R. campaign, and pay their own attorneys to represent the district in the desegregation case, but (then) complain about plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees? I’m very disappointed,” Campoy said. This is the first time the district has taken an approach of hitting deseg by using the fee issue. Their attorneys get paid, but what, the plaintiff’s aren’t worth it?”
It’s interesting to Campoy that although a director for the Culturally Relevant Curriculum program hasn’t been hired, the director for advance placement education was hired immediately.
(Article continued below)
“In the end, nothing has changed,” she said.
Campoy is right about nothing changing in TUSD. One of the main obstacles in the way of this progress has to do with the ambitions of the man who has no problem taking credit for everyone else’s work as if it were his own, a person who believes he should be superintendent of the entire school district and threw a fit when he didn’t even advance past the first stage despite the fact that his friends form a majority on the school board, a person with a lack of humility with delusion of grandeur and an authoritarian-style of ruling that distanced himself from the people that actually founded and created the MAS program.
The purpose for making the CRPI person a director-level position was because Romero was already the Multicultural Director, and there were legitimate concerns that once again he would take everything over, delegating out the work while taking credit for the results. He also told the former MAS teachers that when TUSD chooses a CRPI director, that it will be he that is chosen. That is a huge reason that many have stayed far away from the CRC classes, because as Sylvia Campoy said above “nothing has changed.”
TUSD simply has no decent position for the former MAS teachers.
If you think these concerns are just gossip and invalid, consider the most recent book published by Augustine Romero. Pay attention to his description of himself on the left.
Sylvia Campoy and MALDEF must be delusional because apparently TUSD already does have a CRPI Director, and that person is Augustine Romero!
Furthermore, the book description says that:
Raza Studies: The Public Option for Educational Revolution offers the first comprehensive account of this progressive—indeed revolutionary—program by those who created it, implemented it, and have struggled to protect it.
Would it surprise you if I told you that there is no MAS teachers who contributed to this work. In fact, they were all surprised that a book even existed, especially since it is about those that “created it, implemented it, and struggled to protect it.” Apparently MAS-TUSD was able to do all this without the teachers, all under the leadership of Romero (even though he was director of Equity these past few years and not involved with the MAS program).
It is no surprise that his fellow Grijalvistas are also part of this rewriting of MAS history, literally, including, sadly, Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias, who is one of the few Grijalvistas I still respect. However, they use a space that is supposed to be devoted to a Chicana pioneer, Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, to further Auggie’s ambitions and completely leave out the MAS teachers once again.
Also over these years, the community activists who were working to establish the UA program also were striving to get ethnic studies into the Tucson Unified School District. The district hired Ray Chavez and later, in 1998, Augustine Romero, a local product, was able to get a formal Ethnic Studies Program and curriculum established in TUSD. It had a remarkable record of success in inspiring Latino students to stay in school, graduate, and go on to enroll in higher education, but the TUSD program came under attack from Arizona legislators in Phoenix who eventually passed a law banning it as “subversive.”
Not surprisingly, Raquel works with Lupe, Augustine, Raúl Aguirre, Richard Elías and others toward getting ethnic studies re-established in some form at TUSD. A favorable U.S. District Court ruling in early 2013 appears to have opened a door and Augustine is designing an ethnic studies replacement curriculum to meet the court’s criteria. About 65 percent of TUSD’s student population consists of ethnic minorities, and the district has a long history of racial discrimination that lead to the court ruling.
It’s the one-man show starring dictator… err, director Augustine Romero who does it all without the help of any MAS teachers, or heck even the new CRC teachers!
Now let’s just suppose that Auggie is full of himself and that TUSD still has a vacancy for the CRPI Director. The next question that arises is; why are MALDEF and HT Sanchez treating this one position with lowered expectations than the rest. Perhaps the lowered expectations are just a set up to what is coming in Augustine Romero’s imaginary future which could become reality since the Grijalvistas run the school board.
Lowered expectations for Latinos in TUSD to continue under leadership?
Let us be specific about what is meant by lowered expectations.
There are at least 8 directors in TUSD that are deseg or minority related. There are four directors of the Student Support Services; Asian- African- Mexican- and Native American. There’s also the director of Magnet Schools, Student Equity, Desegregation and the famous CRPI we have been talking about.
All of them have as their minimum requirements as Masters degree, all of them but one that is. Can you guess which Director only requires a Bachelors degree? The screenshots of the job descriptions are in the animated gif above.
If HT Sanchez is wondering why people do not want to work with Augustine Romero, they have good reason to stay away. They are tired of their work being stolen, or taken without credit given. Make no mistake though, national scholars have noted that it screams out that there are no MAS teachers involved in this latest book by “Augustine Romero… the director of the Department of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Instruction in TUSD.”
HT might even find this “fact” surprising, and how even from within there are people trying to rewrite the true MAS history. Such lies should get people fired, but instead Romero will probably be superintendent one day because Peter’s Principle predicts that people like him will rise to their level of incompetence.
For what it is worth, it seems that every director position is available except for Multicultural Director. It seems that HT now gets to own his decision to keep Dr. Romero at this position for the 2014-15 school year. MAS-TUSD will also remain dead, but the man with the Messiah-complex will continue to take credit for raising the dead, and only higher-ups such as professors and politicos share any credit while the teachers continue to teach, giving graduation credit to students even as their own credit is taken to sell books written by the “CRPI Director of TUSD.”