TUSD has a huge racism and segregation problem, but maybe those who are being tasked to fix it are actually making the problem worse.
This seems to be the pattern after the Ninth Circuit imposed the Desegregation Order over TUSD once again in 2011. What should have been seen as a big victory by MALDEF ended up turning into a huge desmadre.
For example, there’s the issue of the Mexican American Studies program, which was actually protected in the order in place at that time, and instead MALDEF compromises for LESS, not MAS, then what they had before.
MAS no longer exists thanks to their compromise to have a watered-down Culturally Relevant Curriculum that is so harmless that not even John Huppenthal pays attention to them anymore. TUSD has eliminated the student activist “problem” it had with the most successful educational program for Latinos in the nation. No more walkouts, no more protesting; the director Auggie Romero has made Huppenthal happy and all is well.
One-fifth of money intended for desegregation TUSD is used to forcibly segregate Mexican into ELL “Mexican rooms.”
Then there is the issue of using one-fifth of desegregation funds to forcibly segregation Latinos into the “Mexican rooms” where they are kept separate from the rest of the students for 4 hours each day, being deprived of all those classes they need to graduate. Why would MALDEF allow even one penny of money meant to desegregate on this anti-Latino program?
Now let’s skip ahead to the latest debacle
Why are these minority attorneys trying to get rich off of TUSD’s racism?
As a Chicano activist in what Dr. Cornel West calls ground zero in the struggle for liberty and justice, I have become used to the importance of lawyers who usually volunteer pro bono to represent those who get arrested in civil disobedience or those who are fighting against racist state laws in the state of Arizona.
For example, right after HB2281 was signed into law by Jan Brewer, the state superintendent Tom Horne decided to visit Tucson and met with a group of protesters who had a sit-in at the state building and ended up getting arrested. This included two UA Professors, Dr. Roberto Rodriguez and Dr. Lydia Otero, who certainly have a better financial situation than the youth who were also arrested, but who still received the benefits of a pro bono attorney, Richard Martinez. Martinez is the same lawyer who is representing Save Ethnic Studies and has filed in the Ninth Circuit Court on behalf of three TUSD students and their parents to challenge the constitutionality of HB2281. While there is a fund set up to pay for the costs of this case, attorney Martinez receives no income from this case; on the contrary he has spent a lot of his own resources supporting this case.
There have been arrests of activists at many places from the State Capitol to the TUSD Headquarters to the State Building in downtown Tucson and by activists who recently shutdown Operation Streamline. Part of this sacrifice usually includes a lawyer who sacrifices their own income to represent you in court, and the significance cannot be overstated.
So I was deeply troubled by something I just learned about the lawyers representing the minorities in TUSD.
You know your record as a racist is bad when you are a Jewish leader that is forced to resign from the Anti-Defamation League for something you did that was so bad they had to condemn you over it.
From Three Sonorans, January 19th, 2012:
The then state superintendent Tom Horne, a Polish Jewish immigrant, was forced out of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for supporting the racist bill. In case you do not know what the ADL is:
The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Now the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.
via ADL website.
It appears that the bill banning Ethnic Studies is so bad that even the ADL will denounce you. From the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix:
Tom Horne, Arizona’s state superintendent of public instruction, resigned from the local board of the Anti-Defamation League Feb. 26, over the board’s opposition to a bill he supports that would ban ethnic studies programs.
In January of 2012, 7 books were banned in Tucson’s largest school district that were at the heart of the Mexican American Studies program.
Those books were:
- Pedagogy of the Oppressed
- Message to Aztlan
- Critical Race Theory
- 500 Años del Pueblo Chicano / 500 Years of Chicano History, in Pictures
- Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years
- Occupied America: A History of Chicanos
- Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights
48 teachers from different states have filed their own amicus brief in the Maya Arce v. John Huppenthal Ninth Circuit case against HB2281, Arizona’s “Ethnic Studies Ban” bill.
If you have ever wondered why these books are so powerful, and why they should be read by all Americans, then you should print out a copy of the PDF above to read over the holiday break to find out how historical truth really gets under the skin of right-wing Republicans in Arizona, the “show me your papers state,” to the point that they try to mimic 1930s Germany even further by banning books.
INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT
The discussions and dilemmas taking place under the desegregation decree over Tucson’s largest school district (TUSD) are epic in nature and the nation should be watching.
High-level debates over modern-day race and racism and how to remedy the remnants of the racist past are taking place today in TUSD at every school board meeting. However, those taking place in the debate are not experts in the field, sociologists or professors with backgrounds in this highly complex field, but rather simple folks like Michael Hicks who thinks Mexican American Studies (MAS) is racist and Mark Stegeman who thinks that a unity clap by students is evidence of the MAS classroom being a cult.
The great United States of America has a way of turning possible remedies to a solution into a problem. It is as if someone was dying in the desert, something that happens very frequently in the Southern Arizona desert from those seeking the mythical American Dream, and Uncle Sam saves the person dying from thirst and gives them water. This would be fine but then Uncle Sam gets that mischievous look in his eyes and keeps giving the person water even after they are full, now using the potion as a poison.
Turning the potion into a poison is what is taking place in TUSD today, and the well-meaning MALDEF who stepped in to save the Latino students seems to be feeding the Special Master more gallons of water as he attempts to force-feed that which we wanted down our throats even after being satiated.
“No, you were thirsty and wanted water, so DRINK!”
“But now I’m drowning in water!”
Here is the epic dilemma