Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Want More Evidence that Mexican-American Studies Works?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Remember all those times when any evidence presented to support TUSD's Mexican-American studies just never seemed enough? Despite teachers, professors and students pointing out graduation rates, better AIMS test scores, overall improvement in other classes and more kids going on to college, it still didn't convince detractors.

Even after the Cambium Audit, commissioned by state Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal contradicted his claims that it violated state laws, (an audit which Huppenthal then tried to hide from the press), the numbers didn't mean enough.

School board member Michael Hicks blamed student loyalty on the spell of magical burritos. School board member Mark Stegeman said that award-winning teacher Curtis Acosta's literature class seemed like a cult. Sure, why not?

Well, we suggest that you give this a read: An Empirical Analysis of the Effects of Mexican American Studies Participation on Student Achievement within Tucson Unified School District.

Pull up a seat and download it right here:


The report was submitted June 20, 2012 to the court-appointed desegregation special master Willis Hawley for the TUSD desegregation case. Hawley is the architect for the desegregation plan that was just released to the public on Friday evening. He's pulled together a deseg plan that (gasp!) brings back MAS and other systems that, for the most part, everyone seems to agree upon.

Cabrera did the report with UA College of Education Professor Jeffrey F. Milem and UA Dean Ronald W. Marx. In the introduction, it states that Hawley requested the analysis to "examine the relationship between participating in the (TUSD) Mexican American Studies program and student achievement (positively, negatively or no relationship)."

Returning to the three hypotheses that drove these analyses, no empirical evidence indicated that MAS participation adversely affected student achievement. Moreover, there is sufficient empirical evidence in analyses of two of the three outcomes (AIMS passing and graduation) to reject the null hypothesis (i.e., there is no significant relationship). Of the 12 regression models predicting AIMS passing, MAS participation was positively related to the dependent variable in every case and seven of these relationships were significant. A similar trend existed for graduation rates. MAS participation was positively related to graduating in all eight regression models, and this relationship was significant in six of them. These results suggest that there is a consistent, significant, positive relationship between MAS participation and student academic performance.

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