TUSD expands noncompliance to African American curriculum

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john huppenthalPHOENIX – On Jan. 2, as one of his last orders of business, outgoing Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal (l) issued a Notice of Noncompliance to Tucson Unified School District Superintendent H.T. Sanchez pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-112 and the settlement agreement it reached in 2012.

In response to TUSD’s radical and racist Raza (Race) Studies program, later renamed Mexican American Studies (MAS), the Arizona State Legislature passed A.R.S. § 15-112, Prohibited courses and classes; enforcement, which states under (A): “A school district or charter school in this state shall not include in its program of instruction any courses or classes that include any of the following:

1. Promote the overthrow of the United States government.
2. Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.
3. Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.
4. Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

In December 2011, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Lewis D. Kowal issued a decision concluding TUSD’s MAS program “had one or more courses or classes” that violated the law.

The penalty for violation is the withholding of 10 percent of TUSD’s state aid.

As a result of the ALJ’s decision, TUSD adopted a resolution addressing its violations of the law and agreed to eliminate MAS curricula in elementary and high school classes.

The district also agreed to implement revised English language arts and social studies curricula that would meet state standards, address the needs of its diverse student body and not violate the law.

Huppenthal’s office found reasonable cause to believe TUSD has one or more classes that not only violate A.R.S. § 15-112(A)(1), (2) and (4), but failed to provide complete information to ADE regarding revisions to its curricula for “culturally relevant English, United States History and United States Government classes.”

Huppenthal points out in his notice that while TUSD’s original violations related to classes taught from the Mexican American perspective; it appears the district has expanded those violations to classes taught from the African American perspective.

And, while TUSD agreed to provide curricula for ADE to review for the 2012-2013 school year, it did not submit the materials to ADE until May 2013, when the school year was over.

Huppenthal stated, “Since that time, ADE has engaged in an extensive dialogue with TUSD regarding its compliance with state law and the settlement agreement, as well as use of state standards for development and implementation of curricula.”

After ADE made numerous requests for TUSD to provide it with curricula, lesson plans, and other materials, TUSD failed to respond to ADE fully or address concerns expressed by ADE.

According to Huppenthal, the drafts of curricula submitted by TUSD were deficient and many were “written in a fashion that would make them incomprehensible to teachers new to these classes or parents of students who want to understand what their children are learning.”

ADE, when conducting unannounced monitoring visits, found the district’s bell schedules and teacher assignment schedules inconsistent with each other.

In conclusion, Huppenthal stated TUSD is not in compliance with either the settlement agreement or statute and appears to have one or more classes that “(1) promote the overthrow of the United States government; (2) promote resentment toward a race or class of people; or (4) advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

Huppenthal said he is prepared to reinstate the ALJ’s Dec. 27, 2011 order, requiring ADE to withhold 10 percent of TUSD’s state aid if TUSD does not come into compliance with both the law and settlement agreement by March 4, 2015.

He also expressed concerns that TUSD is not in compliance with state statutes and board policies requiring board adoption of curriculum and materials after proper public notice.

Additionally, Huppenthal stated some classes at Cholla Magnet School appear to be in violation of A.R.S. § 15-506(A)(5), which requires a specific time of day be set aside for those students who wish to recite the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag.

To demonstrate compliance, Huppenthal said TUSD should take the following actions:

A. Properly adopt curricula and materials that meet state standards and do not violate state law,
B. Remove objectionable material from the curriculum,
C. Show ADE that all teachers are teaching properly approved curricula.

Huppenthal provided a list of information/ documentation ADE will accept as evidence of compliance.

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