9OYS Continuing Coverage
Mexican-American studies courses could return to Tucson schools
Reporter: Alexis Fernandez
Web Producer: Mekita Rivas
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - After 38 years, a final settlement could be reached involving a lawsuit filed against the Tucson Unified School District over racial segregation.
Groups representing Latino and black plaintiffs, TUSD and the U.S. Department of Justice agreed on a proposed plan to bring TUSD to a "unitary status," which aims to increase racially and ethically integrated schools.
"It is time to move forward, to put the remedies in place to get the district in compliance with the law -- and the students have been waiting for this to happen," said Nancy Ramirez, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
The proposed plan has several mandates, including more magnet schools, diversity of students, staff and teachers.
The ultimate goal is to bring Latino and black students to the same level playing field as white students.
"Much greater power and it's really what we wanted to see when we came in to the district saying -- let's make sure that outcomes are where they belong," said Dr. John Pedicone, superintendent for TUSD.
One part of the plan is to bring back courses with focus on Latinos, similar to the Mexican-American studies program shelved by TUSD back in January.
"They play a critical role in engaging students in their education, and also to help close the achievement gap and to improve their performance," Ramirez said.
Exactly what courses will be put in place still remains to be seen.
"I can't tell you what those courses will look like until the final plan is submitted to the court and we get response back on what the court expect us to do," Pedicone said.