Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Saving Mexican American Studies

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Below is a video of yesterday's press conference, from Daniel Buckley, of the 11 ethnic-studies teachers currently suing Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, the Arizona Board of Education and the Tucson Unified School District in an effort to save ethnic-studies classes, particularly the Mexican-American studies program.

In attendance, watching the press conference off to the side, was TUSD governing board president Mark Stegeman, who is expected to introduce a resolution at tonight's special board meeting that will make drastic changes to the Mexican American Studies program and classes.

Tonight's meeting begins at 4 p.m., with this portion of the agenda starting at 5 p.m., at 1010 E. 10th St. There will be a 30-minute call to the audience.

Stegeman told reporters who crowded around him toward the end of the teachers' press conference that Chicano-literature classes would not be touched and would remain as English-credit classes. It's the Mexican-American studies social-studies classes that would be changed to electives.

The teachers begged reporters to ask Stegeman why he was supporting a change in a program that actually closes the achievement gap in students, especially Mexican-American students. They also asked reporters to ask Stegeman what he plans to put in place to continue to close this gap.

Stegeman told reporters that his intension is to put TUSD in a better defensive position when dealing with the state. He agreed with the teachers about the appalling way desegregation funds have been spent by the district and how problematic it is that the district does not serve struggling-student populations well.

Here's an interview KGUN Channel 9's Steve Nunez did with Angelica Peñaran, a current TUSD Mexican-American studies student, and Stegeman, after the press conference:

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