TUSD Superintendent recommends delaying ethnic studies vote
Reporter: Ina Ronquillo
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - KGUN9 has just learned that Tucson Unified School District President John Pedicone has asked the Board President and Governing Board to postpone the vote slated for this evening on the ethnic studies program.
Although the Governing Board will ultimately make the decision on the vote, Pedicone believes that for the interest of all those concerned, the decision to alter the program should come outside of an "increasingly politicized environment" that threatens the welfare of the community and their mission as a school district.
On April 26, students supporting TUSD's ethnic studies program stormed a board room just minutes before the school board was to take up a controversial proposal, forcing cancellation of the meeting.
The following press release was received from Dr. John Pedicone explaining his recommendation to the Governing Board:
I have had a conversation with the Board President and have recommended that at tonight's Governing Board meeting the item on the modification of the Ethnic Studies program be presented and discussed but that no vote is taken until such time as we are able to encourage greater community dialogue. It is clear there is a great deal of misperception and miscommunication about the reason for consideration of this item. This has resulted in heightened levels of frustration.
I received input from community groups asking for an opportunity to have dialogue about the proposed changes. They have made a commitment to participate in a discussion that will focus on an examination of the current curriculum, the manner in which courses are being taught and, ultimately, the District's perspective about the importance of increased levels of multicultural awareness across all grade levels. Those conversations need to take place.
It is my concern that in the current atmosphere, created by events outside of our control, the opportunity to have this productive dialogue is compromised. My responsibility as the Superintendent of this district is to do what is right for all students and to do so in a way that allows the community to feel they are participants and their input is valued.
It will be up to the Governing Board to decide what action to take. In the interest of all concerned, the importance of discussing this matter tonight is clear but the decision to modify the program should come outside of an increasingly politicized environment that threatens the welfare of the community and our mission as a school district.