Thursday, June 12, 2008

Horne Horsepuckey

Tucson, Arizona. The Tucson Unified School District has an Ethnic Studies Department (really good 5/25/08 Star Article) that has developed innovative programs designed to help students succeed in their studies and graduate from high school prepared to participate in higher education. The program features: 1) African American studies, 2) Mexican American Studies, 3) Native American Studies, and 4) Pan Asian Studies.

Arizona’s Republican Superintendent of Public Education, Tom Horne, faced with one of the worse state education systems in the nation, considers it a priority to eliminate the Ethnic Studies Department and its four programs, among the most successful in the state. On Thursday, June 12, he took it upon himself to schedule a press conference right outside TUSD headquarters at 10 AM. TUSD Press Release.

Although he has no authority to tell TUSD what to teach, he is calling for the elimination of the department. TUSD Superintendent Roger Pfeiffer has repeatedly invited Horne to visit its classes and examine course material, but not wishing to be deterred by cumbersome facts, Horne prefers to declare the program contains subject matter that is "racist and anti-American" making no efforts to provide evidence supporting such claims.

Dr. Augustine Romero, Director of the Ethnic Studies Department, did release documentation regarding the Raza (Mexican American) program, showing that for each of the last four years students who participated enjoyed significantly higher graduation rates than those who did not. More dramatic, AIMS test performance of participants far exceeded that of non-participants. I will simply mention the reading, writing, and math results for 2006-2007 eleventh grade students at Cholla, Pueblo, Rincon, and Tucson High high schools.

Reading: Raza - 67, Others - 26
Writing: Raza - 71, Others - 16
Mathematics: Raza – 55, Others – 18.

I guess that racist, un-American stuff does a person’s reading, writing, and arithmetic a lot of good. I leave K-12 to individuals I admire like Dr. Vaughn Croft, Dr. Celena-Fagan, Dr. Augustine Romero, and other dedicated professionals including principals and teachers. They are aleady calling him to task regarding his ignorance of the program he condemns.

Update: The Tucson Citizen has a Commentary making similar remarks, i.e., mind your own business and go back to Phoenix.

The toxic paranoia of Arizona's xenophobic Superintendent of Public Education extends to the state legislature, where he supports the inane SB-1108, which would deny state funding to schools whose courses denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization.

Oh, I'm sure we can all agree on what that means.


Blogger TexPatriate said...

Because, after all, it is totally un-American to actually be able to read, write, and cipher accurately ?

I will confess to still being a non-fan of programs that center on ethnicity strictly as a matter of "pride", but with the numbers that you cite, I may have to do some rethinking of that position.

Honestly, I don't care if the program is titled How to be a Good Martian-American -- as long as the kiddos actually learn the basics and I don't have to worry about my old age home nurses' aides giving me "10 mcg Heparin" instead of "1 hug & HEALIN'".

I will close with a bumper sticker quote: If you think education is expensive, check the price tag on ignorance.

6/12/2008 11:26 PM  
Blogger AZW88 said...

As I posted on Blog For Arizona, I have some concerns about some of what is being promoted by some of the teachers and the program director (based on their own words at a recent TUSD meeting). However, there is no way in hell that Tom Horne should be butting into the LOCAL CONTROL decision-making process. This is why we have school boards. This is how public education works in AZ.

Besides, if Horne were really looking at 'ethnic-centric' teaching and curriculum, he would be going after a number of schools and teachers on the various reservations and several charter schools in Phoenix and Tucson. Not to mention the practice that allows students of a certain religion to take a 'seminary class' at a church-run facility and get HS credit for that class. This is a religion that has as a tenet of their faith that the lighter your skin, the closer you are to god/being holy/purity. It doesn't get more ethnic-centric than that.

Horne is posturing for a run for governor. TUSD is an easy target.

6/13/2008 10:01 AM  
Blogger roger said...

Hell AZ, this was his kick off speech for Governor. This is more GOP race baiting, typical color blind *&^%! that only benefits those without color, and that is all about bringing out the conservative, anti-Hispanic culture crowd so taht he can show is his conservative chops.

I am not a fan of Terry Goddard for a host of reasons...all to do with his so called "protection" of consumers and deals with Ameriquest, but Horne just lost any shred of hope of getting my vote.

I wish we had a candidate other than Goddard to oppose this guy. Maybe I am not connected enough to know if another is looking at the office.

6/13/2008 2:50 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

Does anyone know a Republican who is not at least one of the following:
- war criminal
- thief
- lying sack of shit
- douche bag
- idiot

I certainly don't. I think they shake out into the above five, but I could have missed one or two.

Horne is probably just a douche bag.

6/13/2008 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Horne is either:
God help Arizona, but we get what we pay for.

6/14/2008 6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The TUSD Governing Board needs help or someone to investigate their actions (or lack of). To allow a school Governing Board to condone such behavior by an administrator is simply unacceptable:

6/18/2008 11:08 PM  

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