TUSD may lose $15 million for violating state Ethnic Studies law
PHOENIX (KGUN9-TV) - TUSD's Mexican-American studies program is breaking Arizona law. State school superintendent John Huppenthal ruled Wednesday the program violates the law in several ways, including advocating resentment of other races.
The punishment could be the loss of $15 million in state aid each year.
As Huppenthal's decision drew near, fervent Mexican-American Studies supporters held an overnight vigil at TUSD headquarters. Ethnic Studies defenders feel so strongly the program is good for students they've even chained themselves to the chairs of TUSD board members to try to prevent any changes. That disturbance at an April meeting forced the board to postpone a vote on a proposal to make Ethnic Studies an elective rather than part of the core curriculum. That decision has still not taken place.
In his prepared statement the superintendent said Ethnic Studies fosters resentment by teaching Latinos they are an oppressed minority, adding that the program offers no other viewpoints. He also said the program is designed to attract minorities in a way that amounts to segregation and that the TUSD board did nothing to control the curriculum.
"They failed to comply with their own board policies on review of curriculum. They failed to comply with state law on development of curriculum. They failed to get broad based community input on design of curriculum," Huppenthal said during his address on Wednesday. "They failed to allow their principals to do a quality control review of classrooms right in that principals school and when you have all those violations you end up with the mess that you have in the Tucson Unified School District. "
Only reporters were allowed to question Huppenthal but Ethnic Studies supporters outside his office protested the superintendents decision.
"This is teaching students their ethnicity," Carlos Galindo said. "This is teaching Mexican-American students the relationship between Mexico and the United States and what they've suffered and what they've gone through there's nothing wrong with the truth."
Now to avoid losing millions of dollars in funding, TUSD has 60 days to convince the superintendent the district is in compliance or they have to prevail on appeal.