MAS is not CRC: Anger grows as TUSD says it will not bring back MAS if it wins in Federal Court

Two years ago there was an editorial in the Arizona Daily Star by the chair of TUSD’s Audit Committee entitled Time for TUSD to stop making unforced errors. As a result of going public, HT Sanchez and his board retaliated and had this person kicked off the audit committee.

Now as a new fiscal year kicks off in 2017, it appears that TUSD is still making unforced errors, but now the issue has to deal with racism and segregation and anger against TUSD administration is growing nationwide.

By Arnie Bermudez

The issue at hand has to do with the highly successful Mexican American Studies program, which was mandated by the Federal Court by the Desegregation Order approved in 2009.

  • In 2010, Arizona passed HB2281, the Ethnic Studies ban
  • In 2011, the State Superintendent used the new powers given to him in this bill to ban the MAS program in TUSD
  • In 2012, TUSD banned the MAS program
  • In 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case back to the Tucson federal court to investigate “racial animus” on the part of the state of Arizona
  • In 2017 (right now), the MAS case is ongoing in Tucson federal court. Last week was the first week of trial and it continues again on July 17th. In the first week, news went statewide as the highly racially-charged comments by John Huppenthal were presented in federal court.

In light of this controversy with racial tensions increased, TUSD decides to tell Arizona’s largest newspaper that even if MAS wins their case, the district will not be bringing back the innocent program that was put on death row, leaving Southern Arizona’s largest district to being the final party that gives the lethal injection!

When MAS was first banned it was only after a year of protests and forums and pushback and division in our community. If TUSD Administrators were smart, they would have kept out of this issue; if MAS loses its case there is no need to say anything about it since the federal courts made the decision for you.

Instead, Stefanie Boe says that MAS is not returning to TUSD in any scenario. TUSD has a new Culturally Relevant Curriculum approved by the state that suffices. One commenter had the following to say in response.

WHITE MOM DEFENDS MAS!

JULY 4, 2017 AT 5:59 PM

My daughter was fortunate enough to be able to attend MAS classes at Tucson High Magnet School.The MAS teachers and courses changed her life. Actually, the impact of the courses impacted all of us in very positive ways. We are an upper middle class white family who never paid much attention to other cultures. MAS literature and social studies inspired my daughter to value and appreciate her own culture while also valuing and appreciating the Mexican culture, its rich literature and history. There was never a hint of hate spewed in her classes. Her MAS classes opened the door (and our hearts) to the study and appreciation of other cultures and religions.

My daughter blossomed intellectually because of the MAS courses she took but more importantly, she blossomed socially and took us along with her.


(Article continued below)

My youngest son has been enrolled in Culturally Relevant courses this last year. I do not see the same level of engagement from his teachers and his experience is totally different than my daughter’s. He says he got cheated and I agree.

I think TUSD has gone backwards during the last 4 to 5 years with administrators like Boe. As a taxpaying TUSD mom, I do not agree with her message and hope that someone will hold her accountable.

MAS as it was and its teachers, as they were, need to return to TUSD.

The emphasis is mine above, but it becomes the first of incoming data from parents who had children in both MAS and CRC, and for many reasons that would require a book on pedagogy to explain, parents and students are noticing that MAS is NOT CRC. In a nutshell, there is a lot more to classes than just the curriculum.

There are many more comments that express disapproval with Stefanie Boe’s statement to the Arizona Republic. Lillian Fox, who has attended just about every board meeting this decade, said:

It’s hard to understand what motivated Stephanie Boe to make her statement about MAS. I can’t believe Acting Superintendent Trujillo directed her to make the statement and the Board can’t do that without a vote.

Dr. Trujillo would be unlikely to make a public statement on TUSD’s position on MAS without consulting the TUSD Governing Board. No single member, not even the president of the Board is authorized to take public positions for TUSD.

Besides, there’s no reason for Dr. Trujillo or the Board to make any statements about MAS before the Court has announced its decision!

Other comment excerpts include:

  • Stefanie Boe is to TUSD what Steve Bannon is to Donald Trump. Her bias, as it pertains to people of color is one which has been quite obvious for quite some time.
  • If Stephanie Boe’s statement is NOT official, then it should be considered immediate grounds for dismissal as her actions are insubordinate coming from the Director of Communications.
  • Either Boe is speaking as a lone wolf, still pretending that she is empowered which is a hangover from the Sanchez era or the current Board voted and gave her direction to proclaim that MAS would never be brought back to TUSD.
  • Boe does not understand any of these legal implications and should stop speaking from her bigoted framework. She is actually agreeing with what are socially proven bigots- Horne and Huppenthal- who will hopefully, soon to be legally proven bigots- which makes her one and the same. Is this who should be the spokesperson for TUSD?!

More unforced errors for TUSD… we expect community members to attend the next board meeting on July 11th to express their opposition to Stefanie Boe’s statements in person.


Also published on Medium.

4 comments on “MAS is not CRC: Anger grows as TUSD says it will not bring back MAS if it wins in Federal Court
  1. The MAS trial is only half over. There are quite a few days still to come before the second week of testimony begins. Although Huppenthal’s testimony was widely mocked, Horne has yet to testify, and I would bet the farm that lawyers on both sides are busily consulting transcripts and making changes to questioning strategies. This is a bench trial, not a jury, and the scope is limited. Nobody on either side should be making pronouncements of potential victory, or defeat, and should not be rearranging the deck chairs just yet. Much can happen in a trial before a judgment is rendered. Stay tuned for further developments.

  2. I believe Ms. Boe either knows something we (the public) don’t know, which would have been a TUSD governing Board decision to back her publicly in her statement. If in fact she made an unauthorized decision then she should be admonished by Dr. Trujillo. Furthermore she should be investigated for previous unauthorized public positions she has taken in the past. If there are similar actions she has taken in the past, then she should be relieved of her duties and her contract be considered null and void.

  3. Any statement from the Director of Communications that is in direct conflict with the official policies and positions of the Governing Board are automatic grounds for dismissal. Period. Ms Boe is a disgrace to her profession and Directorship.

  4. I agree that it is premature to be making any type of proclamation at this point in the trial, which was the point in criticizing the spokeswoman for TUSD. Exactly on whose behalf is she speaking? If she was speaking on behalf of the Supt., and he authorized her to do so, then he has just made a major error in gaining trust from a large segment of the population who supported MAS as well as Tucson liberal who, in general, support academic freedom and the development of critical thinking skills. No Board vote was taken on this issue so we all know that Boe (the walking boo-boo) cannot be speaking on behalf of the Board. If she is stupid enough to take direction from 1 or 2 Board members, that certainly should infuriate the remaining number of Board members who have been left out in the cold. If she has taken direction from the Steptoe Law Firm or the internal legal counsel, then we all know who is behind the curtain in the land of TUSD-OZ. At least the comments on this blog have given us some new information about the CR courses that are being taught, which is that they do not compare in content or delivery to what was in place in the name of MAS.

    What I know is that students have been deprived of quality instruction and teachers since the MAS courses were suspended.

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