Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TUCSON UNIDOS fighting to save ethnic studies finds superintendent unfit

UNIDOS audit finds John Huppenthal, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, unfit

Contact: Elisa Meza 520-991-2320 /
Press statement
Photo: Three Sonorans

Students respond to Arizona's superintendent of schools statement on Wednesday that the ethnic studies program in Tucson public schools violates new state law. He threatened to cut off $15 million in funds for the district.

TUCSON -- To claim that our cultural heritage is not valid or relevant to be taught within a public education system is appalling. By deeming our Ethnic Studies Program out of compliance, and Mexican American Studies to be a threat to Huppenthal’s white washed view of equitable education, he has unearthed a brand new generation of resistance. Huppenthal’s decision to characterize Ethnic Studies as hostile towards the dominant American culture has sprouted an awakening to what he fears the most: an empowered young, Latino and non-Latino population.

Students of all colors are organizing not only to save their classes, but to achieve equitable education for all communities in our schools. We condemn Huppenthal’s violation of our right to access our culture and history.

We denounce the validity of his position as state superintendent and will continuing organizing and building power for the betterment of our future.

As UNIDOS, we released yesterday our own findings where we embraced Ethnic Studies for the profound impact it has made in students’ lives. Why isn’t Huppenthal listening to the students he is supposed to represent? Why would he cut a program that tremendously supports students in bridging the “drop-out” gap? Extreme hatred, racism and discrimination are John Huppenthal’s sole motivations.

With the growing demographics making students of color (particularly Latino students) the majority of Arizona’s student population, we find Huppenthal incapable of meeting our needs and consider him severely unfit to be State Superintendent.

The words of Martin Luther King, Jr. are as applicable as ever to Huppenthal and TUSD board: “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."

We demand that TUSD Governing Board and Superintendent John Pedicone create a resolution announcing they will appeal Huppenthal’s decision and sue the state.

Ultimately, the fate of the program rests in the hands of the TUSD Governing Board.

We will continue organizing for social justice. Their political positions are temporary, but this movement for our human and civil rights will continue to flourish until our community bears witness to a society based on the values of social justice, equality and respect for all of humanity.

They may try to destroy our classes through HB 2281, but they can never lock us out of our education, history and culture.
In the news:
Tucson Citizen Three Sonorans: UNIDOS finds ethnic studies a success
Reuters: Arizona school superintendent said Wednesday ethnic studies violates the law
Arizona's superintendent of schools said on Wednesday the ethnic studies program in Tucson public schools violates new state law and he threatened to cut off $15 million in funds for the district.

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