TSON News | MAS will be THE issue of the 2018 TUSD election: What YOU can do to help it return!

MAS will be THE issue of the 2018 TUSD election: What YOU can do to help it return!

Last week the federal trial for the MAS/HB2281 case began. The trial resumes for an entire and final week on July 17th.

At issue is not whether HB2281 is constitutional – only 1 of the 4 provisions was found unconstitutional and 2 of those 3 were used against MAS – but whether “racial animus” was involved in the decision-making process of John Huppenthal and Tom Horne, both of the state superintendents who issued the ban on TUSD’s Mexican American Studies Department.

After John Huppenthal’s testimony last week we learned that:

  • As a state senator, he amended the bill so that it would not take effect until the first day of 2011. He was already running for state superintendent in 2010 and thus he wanted to be the person who banned MAS. He admitted as much in the trial last week when he said that he was actually helping the MAS program! How? Because he KNEW that Tom Horne would have banned MAS immediately in the Fall of 2010 and thus he gave MAS extra time. Wow, what a generous guy, to delay the racism until his tenure!
  • On December 30th, 2010, Tom Horne found TUSD in violation of HB2281 two days before the law took effect.
  • On January 3rd, 2011 which was a Monday morning, Tom Horne had a press conference at 10am to proclaim that MAS must be banned. Clearly, the former attorney should know about ex post facto laws. Consider the following: The law was now in effect but it was New Year’s weekend! There were no classes in effect! So how could TUSD be in violation of teaching things that were banned under HB2281 if no classes had even been taught since the law came into effect? At noon, the former attorney who was banned from SEC cases and who clearly doesn’t know what the US Constitution itself says about ex post facto laws became the Attorney General of Arizona.
  • This right here, combined with the 4 years of Tom Horne’s history with trying to ban Ethnic Studies in TUSD, clearly shows the racial animus of Horne; he was going to ban the program no matter what!
  • John Huppenthal began his term in office with the MAS ban, and his last act in office was to find the new Culturally Relevant Classes (aka “MAS-lite”) in TUSD in non-compliance, mainly because a TUSD administrator (Auggie Romero) was boasting at a national conference that “CRC is MAS” under a different name. MAS was clearly his defining political force while in office. He did, after all, run a campaign ad saying that he will “Stop La Raza.”
  • And of course, there are all the blog comments that John Huppenthal eventually admitted too, then apologized for. Last week he was asked about these racially charged comments and then boldly proclaimed that he’s rescinding his apology just like Auggie Romero was rescinding his resignation as Pueblo HS principal this last semester.

While Huppenthal was in office he was posting the following:

  • “Yes, MAS = KKK in a different color”
  • “No books whatsoever were banned. MAS skinheads can’t run classrooms”
  • “The books aren’t the problem, the infected teachers are the problem”
  • “MAS classes use the same technique Hitler used in rise to power. In Hitler’s case it was Sudetenldand, in MAS it was Aztlan”
  • “They’re having an orgasm that their book was banned – now maybe a student will read it.”

Yeah, there’s no racial animus here folks?!?

At least Huppenthal admits that books were banned in TUSD, since many conservatives to this day refuse to admit how bad things got against Latinos in TUSD, which continues to be under a federal desegregation order since 1974.

What can WE do now?

There are many groups of people out there showing there support for MAS, from Librotraficantes nationwide to UNIDOS locally. This provides good moral support for all of the teachers and students that have been under attack since Tom Horne began his assault in 2006.

However, to be honest, this will do little to sway Federal Judge A. Wallace Tashima who is actually a Ninth Circuit judge on loan to help with Tucson’s overload of cases thanks to Operation Streamline.

TUSD’s Stefanie Boe joins Horne and Huppenthal in boldly claiming that MAS will never return to TUSD.

What was most disturbing of all the news that came out last week was that the head of TUSD’s media communications, Stefanie Boe, told Arizona’s largest newspaper, the Arizona Republic, that no matter what happens in court, MAS is not returning to TUSD!

Federal cases take months to decide, but a ruling should be released by next summer, if not before.

MAS will once again be an election year issue as it was in 2012 when Kickback Kristel Foster and Cam Juarez ran as “pro-MAS” candidates.


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After being elected they did nothing to help bring back the program, not even helping the MAS trial unlike the many amicus briefs MAS has received from around the nation.

Either way, next year is an election year and there will be two seats open. If this case is decided later this year or early next year, MAS could actually return to TUSD as soon as Fall 2018!

But this will require three board members to make this happen.

There is a board meeting Tuesday, on lucky 7/11 2017. UNIDOS and all other groups invested in a return of MAS should show up and demand an explanation from TUSD as to why they will keep MAS banned.

Even if TUSD doubles-down, next year is an election year and board majorities can easily change. We already know that Michael Hicks will not seek re-election.

We need to get a firm commitment from “pro-MAS” board members Adelita Grijalva and Kristel Foster that they will bring back the program as soon as possible if MAS wins its case. Our prediction is the best we will get is “I supported MAS, but…”

That brings us to Mark Stegeman, Michael Hicks, and Rachael Sedgwick. Of these three, one is leaving next year, so now is the time to start planning for Hicks’ replacement on the board. While Stegeman and Hicks have a history with MAS and voting against it, Sedgwick is brand new to the board and it is anyone’s guess how she would vote.

The federal court case is beyond any of our controls. Even is MAS loses, there is always the Ninth Circuit which tends to rule against all of Arizona’s laws of this nature, such as SB1070.

What is in our control is local control of our school board. The district is 63% Latino, but the voters who vote are mostly White and why would many of them care about TUSD if many of them are sending their kids to charter schools, or don’t have any school-age kids in their household anymore? The patterns of white flight in TUSD have been clearly shown in past articles on Three Sonorans; TUSD has gone from over 62,000 students to under 58,000 students ever since Adelita Grijalva took office, and the vast majority of the over 1,000 students that have left each year have been White students which we documented before the TUSDStats was recently taken down.

This is not the glorious part of social justice, but it is the most important part. We need to show up and speak at every school board meeting, just as we used to back in 2011. We need to prepare candidates for the school board openings next year and we need to help them win their elections.

Otherwise, this whole court case will have been in vain and what John Huppenthal and Stefanie Boe said will become a reality; that MAS will never return to TUSD.


Also published on Medium.

3 comments on “MAS will be THE issue of the 2018 TUSD election: What YOU can do to help it return!
  1. It is tricky proving “intention” in a court of law but it appears that Huppenthal’s bigoted purpose in banning MAS has been exposed in federal court. There is a ray of hope that the federal court will rule in favor of the plaintiffs. This hope must be fed by all of us who have stood up on behalf of MAS, regardless of which side of the isle we have each stood in defending its existence and regardless of our individual approaches.

    By the time MAS was dismantled, its main core group had splintered into two very distinct isles, separated by resentments that had long been growing and which included everything from petty jealousies and status competitions to thorny and complicated scandals. These two groups drew in their own advocates and further spiraled the divisions. Some from each group simply decided to run away, dropping out of sight and abandoning the fight that remained. There was never a serious attempt to resolve the interpersonal conflicts. Individuals were not willing to hear each other’s truths but more than willing to caste judgement. The dynamics cumulatively resulted in a split that impacted our entire community. The anti-MAS bloc ate it up while our splintered factions weakened. Politicos also took sides and fueled various sides. It is obvious that the divisions have grown. Is this where we will remain?

    MAS supporters, inclusive of those who have remained silent and action-less, are now at a cross-roads. Individually we can harbor all of the basura (garbage) from the past or we can look beyond our individual ego wounds and do what is right for the sake of young people who should be able to enroll in authentic MAS courses with superb teachers at the same or better quality that was the case not too long ago. Were it not for the desegregation federal case and the Latino plaintiffs’ persistence in staying on top of the culturally relevant issues regarding the desegregation court order, we would have been left with absolutely nothing. Yet, even they have been demonized.

    As it is, what is in place (Mexican American CRCs) can evolve very quickly if the Court deems that the actions taken by Huppenthal and Horne were based on intentional and targeted bias. Certainly, recruiting teachers would be made easier with a win beneath our wings.

    A lot of damage has been done; people have been hurt; trusts have been betrayed; and feelings have been deeply hurt. Lines have been drawn and lots and lots of trash-talk has taken place. (Let fess up- from all sides.) It is time to get over ourselves and focus on what was and still is at the center of the MAS struggle: the free and accessible offering of MAS courses for all students. Enough damage has been done by Huppenthal and Horne. We do not need to continue to add to it. We do not need to splinter our energies and focus away from the CAUSE.

    If we are not able to model what we believe, then there is not even one ray of hope.

    In LAK’ECH
    Tú eres mi otro yo.
    You are my other me.
    Si te hago daño a ti,
    If I do harm to you,
    Me hago daño a mi mismo.
    I do harm to myself.
    Si te amo y respeto,
    If I love and respect you,
    Me amo y respeto yo.
    I love and respect myself.

  2. I would simply caution against using race as some kind of indicator of one’s committment to MAS in the next election. Those new members of the board that we voted on to join ms.grijalva and bring back MAS did the exact opposite with her help by bringing in a slick talking Texan with the right racial creds. Unfortunately you can talk to Steptoe to see how that turned out….many millions later and a string of lost legal battles have ensured that Latino kids are no closer to closing the so called achievement gap than they ever were. Horne and huppenthahl were hardly the only two politicians who have ridden the MAS train to damage the students of TUSD.

  3. Ms. Putman-Hidalgo is absolutely correct. Let me be specific. Adelita Grijalva (Latina), Kristel Foster (wanna-be Latina), and Cam Juarez (Latino) actually did very little to support MAS and some would even say that they got in the way. Juarez and Foster ran on the platform of saving or reinstating MAS but it was during the campaign that Foster proclaimed that she, like Stegeman and Hicks, would have voted as they did for fear of losing state funding. She too would have killed MAS. There was an abundant amount of lip service from these three do-nothings but actually very little support regarding the legal battle. But the biggest sin was in the way that the three of them stood back and watched Pedicone direct people to go into classrooms and box up the MAS literature books as well as allowed the state and Pedicone to continuously intimidate the MAS teachers. The MAS teachers withstood an incredible amount of harassment and abuse while the three alleged pro-MAS Board Members did nothing. If anyone questions why MAS teachers left their teaching positions, it does not take a whole lot of smarts to figure out that it had to do with how they were treated by Pedicone and the state while Adelita, Kristel, and Cam did nothing. There have been plenty of white advocates who have done more than these three worthless Board members and one of them is Ms. Putman-Hidalgo. The fact that someone is Latino/a should not be used to determine a person’s advocacy pertaining to MAS or other issues which so specifically positively impact Latino students. HT Sanchez has done more to harm Latino’s than any white supt. TUSD has had in recent history, including Pedicone and he got away with it because of the three worthless Board members.

    However, of the three Board members Kristel Foster has been the most outrageously exploitive of Latinos. Her initial surge of support during her first campaign came from the Latino community. She throws the community platitudes every chance she gets but she had done nothing to really improve education for brown children. She is a liar. She is a hypocrite. She is a user. She was so wrapped up in supporting Sanchez (and is still supporting him) that she has never taken the time to see what was needed to really support kids.

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