VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 19   |   MAY 11 – 17, 2011

MAY 13, 2011

Information regarding the Arizona Department of Education’s Review of Tucson Unified School District’s Compliance with A.R.S. § 15-112

Due to a lot of misinformation being spread about the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE’s) on-going review of the Tucson Unified School District’s (TUSD’s) Mexican American Studies Department (MASD) and its curriculum and classroom instruction, ADE compiled the below timeline and information:

•  House Bill 2281 was passed last year and signed into law by Governor Brewer in May of 2010.  The provisions of the law went into effect on January 1, 2011.

•  On January 3, 2011, outgoing Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne ruled that TUSD’s MASD violated provisions of A.R.S. § 15-112.  Per the statute, Horne directed TUSD to come into compliance within 60 days of his finding or risk losing up to ten percent of its apportionment of state aid each month it remained out of compliance.

• Upon taking office on January 3, 2011, newly sworn in Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal reviewed the ruling of non-compliance and initiated an in-depth review of TUSD’s MASD.

•  On February 4, 2011, Superintendent Huppenthal extended the original 60-day cure period by 45 days to allow for a more in-depth, more thorough investigation.

•  On March 7, 2001, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) contracted with a nationally recognized independent education firm to conduct an impartial, unbiased curriculum audit of TUSD’s MASD.  The key scope of this audit was to collect evidence to help the State Superintendent gain a full and complete understanding of the MASD.

•  On April 6, 2011, ADE informed TUSD that the length of time needed to complete the curriculum audit required the extension of the cure period and that it hoped to have a final report by mid-May.

• ADE has just received the draft investigative report from the team that is conducting the curriculum audit.  Members of ADE’s senior and executive teams are reviewing the draft audit report to ensure its completeness and to ensure that the scope of the audit has been met and all areas of the MASD have been reviewed and all questions answered.  If necessary, ADE will ask the audit team to supply additional information deemed to be relevant and necessary to the investigation. 

•  ADE anticipates having a final report ready by the end of this month.  If ADE does request the audit team to provide more information, the time line for a final report may have to be pushed back even further.

•  Superintendent Huppenthal will make his final determination regarding TUSD’s compliance with A.R.S. § 15-112 after carefully reviewing the audit report and other information ADE has gathered regarding the MASD and, subsequently, will let TUSD and the public know of his determination. 

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