“No MAS!”: Inside the Dismantling of Tucson’s Mexican American Studies Program (Part II)

16 Feb

by Kyle Todd
Third Year Law Student

Continuing the Legal Battle Against HB 2281 

After the positive reviews of Cambium’s audit, TUSD Superintendent Pedicone and the rest of the TUSD school board decided to change its course again: they appealed Huppenthal’s MAS declaration to administrative law judge Lewis D. Kowal. Late this past December, Judge Kowal issued his decision, siding with Huppenthal and against the TUSD. Kowal’s opinion brazenly downplays the Cambium study and uses obstensibly race-blind (yet, in reality just context-drained) language to deplore the MAS program for teaching students about racial oppression, colonial domination and any other subject which he says, “promotes social or political activism against the white people, promotes racial resentment, and advocates ethnic solidarity.”

Last month, citing the opinion, Huppenthal again ordered the TUSD to end the MAS program. He threatened an immediate $5 million loss of funding, and another $15 million loss by the end of this year if TUSD did not comply. On January 10, the TUSD school board voted 4-1 to end the MAS program.

That same day, federal district judge A. Wallace Tashima refused to issue an injunction of HB 2241 in the court case of the eleven TUSD MAS teachers (and now two students who have joined it). Tashima found that the teachers do not have standing (a legal requirement that plaintiffs have sufficient personal stake in a case). However, the opinion stated that the two student plaintiffs can go forward with a challenge based on First Amendment grounds.

In the federal case, the teachers pointed to their own jobs as a sufficient interest in the elimination of the MAS program. Tashima found it unclear that they would lose their jobs, saying the MAS program could be preserved through reforming its curriculums.  Meanwhile, Huppenthal himself has hinted that such is a remote possibility. “We would find it nearly impossible for them to cure the program,” he told The LA Times. “The problems are so widespread and so deep that it would be very difficult.”

As if intended to remind us all of the political atmosphere from which HB 2241 sprouted, late in January, Arizona State Representative Cecil Ash suggested Arizona should have a holiday celebrating white people.  Ash was responding to a proposal to create a state Latino American holiday. “I just want them to assure me that when we do become in the minority you’ll have a day for us,” Ash said.

Action: The Way Forward 

Despite the legislative vitriol emanating from the Grand Canyon State, there is hope through action. Ever since Tucson students formed a human chain around then-state superintendent Horne during his visit to TUSD right after HB 2281’s passage, ethnic studies advocates have been raising their voices against the oppressive law. One example is UNIDOS: United Non-Discriminatory Individuals Demanding Our Studies!, “a new youth coalition of students from local Tucson high schools, alumni and community members, demanding our educational human rights. Along with many other activities, UNIDOS is organizing their own Tuesday evening Chicano Studies classes, picking up the pieces of personal and community heritage that Horne, Huppenthal and other HB 2281 advocates tried so hard to shatter.

At the same time, advocates on the ground in Tucson have called on supporters to engage in solidarity actions. Supporters can schedule a screening of Precious Knowledge, a beautiful documentary highlighting the stories of MAS program students since the passage of HB 2281. Or, they can donate to the continuing legal battle here: http://www.saveethnicstudies.org/donate.shtml. Another option is to do a fundraiser: both to spread the word and to get others donating money to the cause.

Here at UCLA, myself and other Occupy UCLA! activists are starting a Tucson Banned Books Reading Group. We plan to read a chapter out of as many as possible of the books listed below, all of which have been banned from Tucson schools as a result of HB 2281. Our reading group meets each Wednesday, from 12-1pm in Dickson Court North. All are welcome to join us.

Banned Books List

  • Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998) by B. Bigelow and B. Peterson
  • The Latino Condition: A Critical Reader (1998) by R. Delgado and J. Stefancic
  • Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (2001) by R. Delgado and J. Stefancic
  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2000) by P. Freire
  • United States Government: Democracy in Action (2007) by R. C. Remy
  • Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006) by F. A. Rosales
  • Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology (1990) by H.
  • Occupied America: A History of Chicanos (2004) by R. Acuña
  • The Anaya Reader (1995) by R. Anaya
  • The American Vision (2008) by J. Appleby et el.
  • Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998) by B. Bigelow and B. Peterson
  • Drink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992) by J. A. Burciaga
  • Message to Aztlán: Selected Writings (1997) by R. Gonzales
  • De Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views Multi-Colored Century (1998) by E. S. Martínez
  • 500 Años Del Pueblo Chicano/500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures (1990) by E. S. Martínez
  • Codex Tamuanchan: On Becoming Human (1998) by R. Rodríguez
  • The X in La Raza II (1996) by R. Rodríguez
  • Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006) by F. A. Rosales
  • A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present (2003) by H. Zinn
  • Ten Little Indians (2004) by S. Alexie
  • The Fire Next Time (1990) by J. Baldwin
  • Loverboys (2008) by A. Castillo
  • Women Hollering Creek (1992) by S. Cisneros
  • Mexican White Boy (2008) by M. de la Pena
  • Drown (1997) by J. Díaz
  • Woodcuts of Women (2000) by D. Gilb
  • At the Afro-Asian Conference in Algeria (1965) by E. Guevara
  • Color Lines: “Does Anti-War Have to Be Anti-Racist Too?” (2003) by E. Martínez
  • Culture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy (1998) by R. Montoya et al.
  • Let Their Spirits Dance (2003) by S. Pope Duarte
  • Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz (1997) by M. Ruiz
  • The Tempest (1994) by W. Shakespeare
  • A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America (1993) by R. Takaki
  • The Devil’s Highway (2004) by L. A. Urrea
  • Puro Teatro: A Latino Anthology (1999) by A. Sandoval-Sanchez & N. Saporta Sternbach
  • Twelve Impossible Things before Breakfast: Stories (1997) by J. Yolen
  • Voices of a People’s History of the United States (2004) by H. Zinn
  • Live from Death Row (1996) by J. Abu-Jamal
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven (1994) by S. Alexie
  • Zorro (2005) by I. Allende
  • Borderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1999) by G. Anzaldua
  • A Place to Stand (2002), by J. S. Baca
  • C-Train and Thirteen Mexicans (2002), by J. S. Baca
  • Healing Earthquakes: Poems (2001) by J. S. Baca
  • Immigrants in Our Own Land and Selected Early Poems (1990) by J. S. Baca
  • Black Mesa Poems (1989) by J. S. Baca
  • Martin & Mediations on the South Valley (1987) by J. S. Baca
  • The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America’s Public Schools (1995) by D.C. Berliner and B. J. Biddle
  • Drink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992) by J. A Burciaga
  • Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States (2005) by L. Carlson & O. Hijuielos
  • Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing up Latino in the United States (1995) by L. Carlson & O. Hijuelos
  • So Far From God (1993) by A. Castillo
  • Address to the Commonwealth Club of California (1985) by C. E. Chávez
  • Women Hollering Creek (1992) by S. Cisneros
  • House on Mango Street (1991), by S. Cisneros
  • Drown (1997) by J. Díaz
  • Suffer Smoke (2001) by E. Diaz Bjorkquist
  • Zapata’s Discipline: Essays (1998) by M. Espada
  • Like Water for Chocolate (1995) by L. Esquievel
  • When Living was a Labor Camp (2000) by D. García
  • La Llorona: Our Lady of Deformities (2000), by R. Garcia
  • Cantos Al Sexto Sol: An Anthology of Aztlanahuac Writing (2003) by C. García-Camarilo et al.
  • The Magic of Blood (1994) by D. Gilb
  • Message to Aztlan: Selected Writings (2001) by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales
  •  Saving Our Schools: The Case for Public Education, Saying No to “No Child Left Behind” (2004) by Goodman et al.
  • Feminism is for Everybody (2000) by b hooks
  • The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (1999) by F. Jiménez
  •  Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools (1991) by J. Kozol
  • Zigzagger (2003) by M. Muñoz
  • Infinite Divisions: An Anthology of Chicana Literature (1993) by T. D. Rebolledo & E. S. Rivero
  • …y no se lo trago la tierra/And the Earth Did Not Devour Him (1995) by T. Rivera
  •  Always Running – La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. (2005) by L. Rodriguez
  • Justice: A Question of Race (1997) by R. Rodríguez
  • The X in La Raza II (1996) by R. Rodríguez
  • Crisis in American Institutions (2006) by S. H. Skolnick & E. Currie
  • Los Tucsonenses: The Mexican Community in Tucson, 1854-1941 (1986) by T. Sheridan
  • Curandera (1993) by Carmen Tafolla
  • Mexican American Literature (1990) by C. M. Tatum
  • New Chicana/Chicano Writing (1993) by C. M. Tatum
  • Civil Disobedience (1993) by H. D. Thoreau
  • By the Lake of Sleeping Children (1996) by L. A. Urrea
  • Nobody’s Son: Notes from an American Life (2002) by L. A. Urrea
  • Zoot Suit and Other Plays (1992) by L. Valdez
  • Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert (1995) by O. Zepeda
  • Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
  • Yo Soy Joaquin/I Am Joaquin by Rodolfo Gonzales
  • Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
  • The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea

3 Responses to ““No MAS!”: Inside the Dismantling of Tucson’s Mexican American Studies Program (Part II)”

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  1. Weekend Reading « Backslash Scott Thoughts - February 25, 2012

    [...] “No Mas!”: Inside the Dismantling of Tucson’s Mexican-American Studies Program, Part I and Part II. [...]

  2. Books Banned in Arizona – Latinos Fighting Thought Control | COTO Report - March 27, 2012

    [...] “No MAS!”: Inside the Dismantling of Tucson’s Mexican American Studies Program (Part I) and (Part II) Graduate of Tucson program speaks out – Erin [...]

  3. Books Banned in Arizona – Latinos Fighting Thought Control | Dailycensored.com - March 27, 2012

    [...] “No MAS!”: Inside the Dismantling of Tucson’s Mexican American Studies Program (Part I) and (Part II) Graduate of Tucson program speaks out – Erin Cain-Hodge The Money Party [...]

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