TUSD board member Cam Juarez was a guest on the Bill Buckmaster Show today at noon. With regards to the future of MAS, we have learned the following.
The process for picking the CRC Director was corrupted, and it is unfortunate, but the new pick is a good person. No mention of how long this new pick will stay in the position (my prediction is not long, especially with a salary of $3000).
No word of when the Multicultural Curriculum Director will be filled, also required by the Unitary Status Plan. This means we are back to square one with only one director in TUSD working on the implementation of the classes, which directly ties in to the next point he made.
Will these classes be offered at all high schools this Fall? The deadline was actually LAST YEAR and they only implemented the courses at 33% of the schools. Cam’s answer was that TUSD has already met 27 of the deadlines stated in the deseg plan… some deadlines will not be met.
Tucson is a land of contradictions. It is similar to the economy of Mexico in the sense that Mexico is home to one of the richest men in the world, and yet the rest of the country is impoverished. A similar phenomenon exists in TUSD.
April has always been a symbolic month when it comes to recent events in Tucson.
It was 8 years ago that the Sensenbrenner anti-immigrant bill was released which led to some of the largest marches nationwide. In Tucson that march ended with police brutality as the police forced white supremacists into the middle of a rally and allowed them to start taunting the students gathered while burning the Mexican flag. Just as the Phoenix police did with the neo-Nazis in November 2010, police used white supremacists as bait to provoke an altercation which led to the beatdown of brown youth.
It was 8 years ago that a woman who was over 70 years old, an icon of the Chicano civil rights movement, co-founder of the UFW along with Cesar Chavez, would speak about this recent legislation at Tucson’s largest high school. During this speech she said three little but truthful words; Republicans hate Latinos. Immediately this led to coverage on Bill O’Rielly’s Fox News show where conservatives prove the point she was making but hate being called out on their xenophobic and racist agenda.
Tom Horne, the state superintendent, would devote the next 6 years to banning the most successful educational program in the nation that bridges the achievement gap for high school Chicanos, all in retaliation for what Dolores Huerta said at Tucson High School.
Above you can listen to the debate between the TEA Party’s Shaun McClusky and Three Sonorans over Mexican American Studies which is now banned in Tucson but has just spread to all of Texas. The discussion began with an introduction to what just happened in Texas by Georgina Perez who was part of the Librotraficante movement that smuggled “wetbooks” into Tucson after they were banned in 2012.
The forum that Bill Buckmaster provides is an important one since many times we only choose media sources that are reflections of our own beliefs that are never challenged. On his monthly showdown that I am part of, we get to have a civilized discussion on heated topics, for example MAS this month.
What I learned from today’s episode is that there is still a lot that is not known about what MAS was in TUSD, and hearsay about it remains despite official independent investigations into program as the one John Huppenthal commissioned now known as the “Cambium Audit.”
When the Desegregation Plan for TUSD was being written there was no Culturally Relevant Classes nor was there a director. All that existed in the beginning was the Special Master’s “Multicultural Curriculum” hamburger helper experiment to be unleashed on the Latino students of TUSD that once had the filet mignon of Mexican American Studies classes that saw high school graduation rates as high as 97% for its students.
Dr. Augustine Romero split with the MAS teachers to accept the job at John Pedicone’s side in return for a paycheck worth near $100K to soothe his ears after being called a vendido by the MAS community; he became the picket-line crosser that Cesar Chavez hated.
After late-night community forums that included all the parties involved in the Deseg case, not only was a Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRC or CRPI) included but also a person to run the program at the Director level; presumably an expert would fill this position and earn a salary similar to the Multicultural Director.
John Pedicone never appointed the CRC Director by the federal court ordered deadline of April 1st, 2013 even with the new “pro-MAS” board that had been elected. Instead Augustine Romero was put in charge of creating the new “MAS-lite” courses that were supposed to be offered at every high school by Fall 2013.