Unfair? Cultural controversy continues at TUSD
Some TUSD students could be forced to sign up for a course that they know nothing about -- because it doesn't exist yet. Might sound unfair, but that's what families are facing as a new cultural studies course rolls out next school year.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Some TUSD students could be forced to sign up for a course that they know nothing about -- because it doesn't exist yet.
Might sound unfair, but that's what families are facing as a new cultural studies course rolls out next school year.
A federal court ordered the district to replace the dismantled Mexican American Studies program -- shut down a few years ago.
Students back then tried to save MAS. They chained themselves to chairs and marched down the streets demanding to be heard. Two years later, a new course is emerging and already it's off to a rough start.
The debate started at the crack of dawn on 104-1 The Truth -- a radio station owned by 9 On Your Side's parent company Journal Broadcast Group. A caller said, "We're going to fund additional training for courses we don't need in a cash strapped school district."
8th grade students headed next year to the three schools piloting the program -- Rincon, Sahuaro and Santa Rita -- are now registering for a course they know nothing about.
The class does have a title -- Ninth Grade Culture, Identity and Transformation: A Culturally Relevant Viewpoint.
But there's no curriculum for the courses yet. On top of that -- the Governing Board hasn't approved it or decided if it'll be mandatory for 9th graders. Board member Mark Stegeman told 90YS, "There are many unanswered questions so I think at some time the cart got before the horse."
Tim Siravo is not surprised. Reporter Valerie Cavazos said, "Some are saying it's disorganized." Siravo replied, "I don't doubt that. It's TUSD."
Lee Logan said he's not upset, "but I would want to look more into it before I would have them signing up something."
Kelly Leverton, a mother of 4 TUSD students, wants her kids to take a cultural course, but "I don't think it should be mandatory. I think it should be an elective."
Logan added, "I don't think cultural studies is a bad thing for anybody to take."
Though it's unclear, right now, what's being taught.
The district is expected to present an overall plan -- not the details -- to the Governing Board on May 7th. Stegeman says he's doesn't understand why the district waited until the end of the school year. He wants community input before he's ready to vote on the new curriculum.
Another note -- the course is not being offered next year at the original high schools that carried the Mexican American Studies classes.