Monday, March 19, 2012

Jeff Biggers: What if El Librotraficante was TUSD Superintendent?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 11:00 AM

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Jeff Bigger's latest piece on AlterNet brings up a topic tossed about lately — not necessarily what life would be like for those who teach and send their children to schools in the Tucson Unified School District if someone like Nuestra Palabra's Tony Diaz was our superintendent — but what could have been done differently from the very beginning of TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone's tenure that would have certainly prevented TUSD from this national embarrassment.

From Jeff Biggers piece that you can read here:

Consider this: If Tony Diaz were TUSD superintendent, tiny little children would not be patted down by security officers and police before entering a school board meeting (such as this incident from last Tuesday), but given free books, such as the celebrated Arizona masterpiece, La Maravilla, by Alfredo Vea.

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If Tony Diaz were superintendent of Tucson schools, children would learn how to emulate their teachers and education leaders and use civil discourse in discussing the state’s diverse populations....

The refreshingly positive and joyous celebration of the Librotraficantes transcends such dehumanizing language with the power of poetry, fiction and essay. Galvanizing students and teachers and community members into a national movement for literature, Diaz and his Librotraficantes are on the verge of sparking a veritable book revival....

In a school district where 62 percent of the students come from Mexican American households, could Superintendent Pedicone—or Arizona education chief John Huppenthal, and school board members Mark Stegeman and Michael Hicks, all of whom have made disparaging comments about Latinos—even pass a pop quiz and name four Mexican American and four Native American writers, educators and social figures from Arizona?

With Diaz’s assistance, Pedicone, Stegemen and Hicks—and even state officials like Huppenthal and Horne—can learn the answer to that pop quiz by checking out the extraordinary Mexican American Studies curriculum that has been banned from Tucson.

Or, they can join the Librotraficante caravan.

After the jump, a bonus video of Biggers' appearance during the recent Festival of Books:

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