State warns TUSD: New culturally relevant courses may cross line
By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Jul 12, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Is TUSD headed for another lengthy legal battle?
Its newest batch of 'culturally relevant core courses' may kick off round two between Tucson schools and the state of Arizona.
It is the hopeful compromise following the war that was Mexican American Studies, but a scathing letter debuted on tucson's '104.1 The Truth', owned by KGUN9's parent company Journal Broadcast Group, says TUSD fell short.
"Unfortunately what was not provided to the board was information regarding ADE's serious concerns!" read local radio host James T. Harris.
In it State Superintendent John Huppenthal argues the district's culturally relevant literature courses, approved by board members earlier this week, may violate the state law that brought MAS tumbling down.
Reasons why, both in the letter and via phone, are hard to come by.
"I can't tell you specifically what was in there that raised red flags," said deparrment spokeswoman Kristen Landry.
The state also worries the courses will fail to satisfy common core standards.
"Those are the items that students are expected to know by the end of the year, and that's what guarantees students a quality education," she said.
Skeptics within the district say those concerns are shared.
"I was concerned that the content diverts too far from our standard courses and was too political and too narrow," said board member Dr. Mark Stegeman.
But those behind the new MAS-style courses call them 'a work in progress' and call any objections 'premature'.
"I'm really hoping that it isn't one of those situations where you're sort of assuming a lot about something before you've really had a chance to really in-depth look over the curriculum," said board president Adelita Grijalva.
And while this letter does nothing to hault the district from moving forward, both sides know it may be a sign of bigger, familiar battles down the road.
The catch here is that this is the very same curriculum the district is mandated to put in place by the federal Desegregation ruling.
So this puts them, again, in a tough spot.
Administrators are also crafting MAS-style goverment and history courses.
The board is set to vote on those later this month.