Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Dear Board Members of the Tucson Unified School District:

[Editor's Note: A chronological list of AICL's coverage of the shut-down of the Mexican American Studies classes at Tucson Unified School District is here.]

Dear Board Members of the Tucson Unified School District:

What happened to last night's board meeting? In the last few days, reports from people in Tucson indicated you planned to vote on an initiative to set up a multicultural program to replace the Mexican American Studies classes that you shut down based on a racist and politically driven anti-Indigenous agenda.

This morning, I read that you had a very short meeting. One of those 60 second kind of meetings that allow you to conform to your own bylaws about holding regularly scheduled meetings. Why did you do that?

Was it because of Michael Hicks' appearance on The Daily Show? Are you in some intense behind-the-scenes damage control?

This morning I ran a search on Twitter using "Tucson" as the search term, and guess what? The top twitter story on Tucson is about the Daily Show episode. I grabbed this image around 6:30 AM, Central Time, on April 4th, 2012:

For the sake of the citizens of Tucson, I hope you're figuring out how to get rid of Hicks, and, I hope you're also trying to figure out how you're going to withdraw your letter to Sean Arce telling him his contract is not being renewed. Sean Arce, the man who directed the Mexican American Studies Department for the last several years...  You know Arce just received a national award from a highly regarded organization, right?

Come on, TUSD board members! All of this attention can not be good for anyone in Tucson. How many people are choosing not to move to Tucson based on what they're learning about TUSD?

And I've got a question for Mark Stegeman, too. Are you defending Hicks? I've been following your defense of him on Facebook, on Curtis Dutiel's wall (note: the thread below started on Monday, April 2nd, after the Daily Show episode aired):

It looks to me like you (Stegeman) are trying to defend Hicks. In the Facebook comments, Hicks tell us he went to Rusk's class. When he was on the Daily Show, did Hicks forget he'd been to Rusk's class? Why are you talking about THAT?! Is it because you---like the rest of America---are shocked at the rest of what Hicks said and prefer not to address Hicks' ignorance?

When will you just admit that Hicks is not qualified to be on the board and ask him to step down? Is that what is going on right now, behind the scenes? I hope so.

For information about Sean Arce's award, see Zinn Education Project Honors Sean Arce at the Zinn Education Project website.

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