Tell Superintendent of Public Instruction Putting Books In Storage Does Not Promote Education
  • Petitioned John Huppenthal

This petition was delivered to:

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction
John Huppenthal

Tell Superintendent of Public Instruction Putting Books In Storage Does Not Promote Education

    1. Chai Blair-Stahn
    2. Petition by

      Chai Blair-Stahn

      Honolulu, HI

 

In the past year, Superintendant John Huppenthal has ruled twice that the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) is in violation of Arizona Revised Statute 15-112(A). Most recently, his ruling resulted in the suspension of the TUSD’s Mexican American Studies courses and put several of the course books into storage, which include:
-  Message to Aztlán, Rodolfo Gonzales
- Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paolo Freire
- Occupied America: A History of Chicanos, Rodolfo Acuña
- Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years, a collection of works by authors such as Leslie Silko, Winona LaDuke, N. Scott Momaday, and Rigoberta Menchu

 

While these books can still be checked out from the libraries, they are no longer being taught in classes!  The alternative facing TUSD would have been the loss of over $14 million in state funding for 2012 and roughly an additional $5 million withheld retroactively for 2011. No school district should have to unfairly choose between receiving funding and providing culturally appropriate education.

 

John Huppenthal claims that TUSD was in violation of Arizona Revised Statute 15-112(A), which states:
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 towards 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. (www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/hb2281s.pdf)

 

However, Huppenthal’s ruling is in fact unfounded and contradicts findings from an audit that he commissioned (for $110,000) to investigate the curriculum. The audit, done by Cambium Learning, Inc. and National Academic Educational Partners, found that the TUSD Mexican American Studies curriculum was not in violation of Arizona Revised Statute 15-112(A) (http://www.scribd.com/doc/58025928/TUSD-ethnic-studies-audit). And while Huppenthal is quoted in the Los Angeles Times saying the curriculum teaches “that Hispanics are the oppressed and Caucasians are the oppressors” the audit reports “No observable evidence exists that instruction within Mexican American Studies Department promotes resentment towards a race or class of people” and that “students are taught to be accepting of multiple ethnicities of people” (p. 55). Moreover, the audit states that “the expectation for increased student achievement for all students of all ethnicities will increase over time” (pp. 68 & 69).

 

Huppenthal’s ruling is clearly an issue of unfounded censorship that silences voices of diversity, including the voices of Latino, Chicano, and Native American scholars. It is both a threat to and an attack on cultural diversity and inter-cultural understanding.

 

Superintendent Huppenthal must reverse his decision. If he does so, then the TUSD can reinstate its Mexican American Studies courses and once again use these books without any consequence of losing state funding.

 

Please sign this petition and share it with others!

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 500 signatures
    2. Slight modification of the petition

      Chai Blair-Stahn
      Petition Organizer

      Dear Supporters,
      A new news report (see link below) points out that no books were officially banned and that The Tempest was, in fact, not included in the list of books that would not be taught. I have modified the petition accordingly, but the intent is still the same. I welcome any comments or suggestions.
      Many Thanks!

    3. Reached 250 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Richard Seeger CHEBOYGAN, MI
      • over 2 years ago

      Wow exactly what I am thinking for my school, entire closet pretty much filled with books once in the curriculum. I am not sure really if they were put back if students would be smarter, but possibliy yes as with this case.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Gloria Chapman CLEVELAND, OH
      • over 2 years ago

      Censorship and the re-writing of history is NOT acceptable. In a couple of generations the truth will be lost, the culture will be stripped and the substance of our educational system will go from in debit to bankrupt!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Carlos Romero TUCSON, AZ
      • over 2 years ago

      I'm signing because I believe in justice and equality. Ethnic studies is the search for truth. As a graduate of University High School in TUSD I am completely appalled by the Board's actions. This is racism and xenophobia at its finest. But we will win in the end, because as a wise man once said, the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. SI SE PUEDE!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Elizabeth Gay-Freeman CLARKESVILLE, GA
      • over 2 years ago

      We all should be free to read anything we wish to read. Otherwise, we are not FREE.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Sommer McGuire FAIRBORN, OH
      • over 2 years ago

      Please learn more about this important issue, sign this petition and circulate. Our nation's history, ALL of it, merits our understanding and full discussion. Our children should know all about where various groups come from. Let's share our histories and our backgrounds, that can only serve to foster dialogue and understanding. I didn't learn enough about the full spectrum of our nation's history and the contributions of my indigenous and Puerto Rican ancestors and suffered because of it. I educated myself and am working hard to ensure that the same does not happen to my daughter, niece, nephews and all children. Look at this situation in Tucson, look at the textbook revisionism in Texas and now the efforts in Tennessee. This reckless and damaging behavior must be stopped.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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