TUSD MAS 12th grade Government class up for review

tusd-150x150The Tucson Unified School District administration has kept the Governing Board and public in the dark about its new Multicultural Curriculum. They have gone so far as to only make it available for viewing by Board members, at the District’s central office.

Administration has told Board members that the curriculum has been delivered to the Arizona Department of Education for review and will only be available to the public on June 7.

The Arizona Daily Independent has come into possession of the curriculum for the 12th Grade U.S. Government Mexican American Perspectives class, and email communications between administrators and the Multicultural Studies director, Augie Romero. In an email between deputy superintendent, Maria Menconi, and Romero, dated May 1, it is clear that the administration has concerns about explaining the curriculum to the Governing Board and by extension, the public:

From: Menconi, Maria
Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2013 1:08 PM
To: Romero, Augustine; Diaz, Dalila
Subject: RE: Presentation1.pptx
Importance: High

Hi Auggie( and Dalila)

The Board agenda item reads “ 9th grade Multicultural Course”, so we are making a presentation title change. That leads me to a question/consideration. How will you explain to the GB the evolution of this course since last August (Multicultural Curriculum) and what it is today? That needs inclusion here somehow, because this is not a course that is required by the USP and we can’t use only that section of the USP that pertains to Culturally Relevant courses to explain its presence.

The 12th Grade U.S. Government Mexican American Perspectives curriculum highlights: To view the curriculum document click here.

• Through the analysis of Amendments in Supreme Court decisions, students will map out how historically marginalized groups of reshaped of the US Constitution in a way that ensures justice for Mexican-Americans and America’s historically oppressed groups. Students will then draft a revised Constitution, Bill of Rights, amendments and propose new amendments that have been augmented in order to better facilitate a greater level of economic, political, racial, gender, and social justice for Mexican-Americans and those who have been historically marginalized in the United States.

• Students will compare contrast and evaluate the different political and government systems students will construct an argument regarding which system ensures the greatest levels of equality and justice for US citizens in general but more specifically to its Mexican American population.

• Students will be able to apply knowledge of the US Constitution and demonstrate their understanding of how the American system of government functions as well as how it impacts individual citizens…. This course encourages students to view themselves as holders and creators of knowledge it emphasizes and nurtures and appreciation for diversity… Students are presented with an opportunity to examine and critique the progressive elements and the inequity embedded in the United States structure and system lastly students will research an issue that exist in their community and will recommend potential remedies to this problem.

• Students will examine and create a position paper and debate the implications that the election of the first black president has on race relations in the United States and the reality of the post-racial society.

• Through a (critical) lens students will create and defend a position that argues whether US foreign-policy is constructed as a means of maintaining national power or as a means of enhancing the welfare of all of its citizens, or a combination of the two.

• Students will construct an argument for the Supreme Court articulating how the Declaration of Independence and the 14th amendment should be used as fundamental lenses through which all their decision should be made.

• Given the current social and political climate students will design a plan that promotes greater social and political justice today and in the future through the separations of power doctrine.

• Given the history of the Supreme Court and it’s lower courts students will construct a case that illuminates the essence of law versus justice and how this understanding has either hindered or promoted the economic political and social advancements of the historically marginalized in the United States.

• Students will demonstrate the skills and knowledge for example group problem-solving public speaking petitioning and protesting needed to accomplish public purposes.

• Students will create their own description of what it means to be an organic intellectual in the present-day world by using examples from the media.

• Students will develop and articulate a position regarding which form of intellectualism is best suited to transform our society into one that is truly just for all groups and individuals.

• Through the lens of their chosen form of intellectualism and the critical praxis methodology students will identify a problem in their community research the problem and develop a plan of action to address the problem.*

The 12th Grade U.S. Government Mexican American Perspectives curriculum is and the 9th Grade course are both founded on the Critical Race Theory and Critical Praxis. Critical Race Theory teaches that all events must be experienced and viewed through a racial lens. Critical praxis demands that a student must put their new knowledge of oppression into action.

For Romero and his colleagues, Critical Pedagogy Students translates into an “opportunity to examine and critique the progressive elements and the inequity embedded in the United States structure and system.” Critical praxis translates into, “recommend potential remedies to this problem,” and as he noted in the above referenced Power Point presentation requires “students to make decisions and take actions on issues related to their social condition.”

In other words, you must transform the U.S. into the ideal socialist society of Paolo Friere.

Paolo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed is the foundation of Critical Pedagogy. Currently Friere’s book is the most commonly assigned reading in colleges of education across the country.

One District insider, who reviewed the materials, expressed concern, “What is wrong with this sort of approach, that it is essentially indoctrination because the result that we can be readily divided into oppressors and oppressed based on our skin color and ethnicity is the only conclusion students can reach given these assignments. This is the exactly what MAS did, and was dismantled for doing. The difference is that if Romero and Menconi (Pedicone) have their way this will be a required course so the indoctrination will be much more widespread.”

All 9th Graders will be required to take the Culture, Identity and Transformation class.  However, the curriculum has not yet been approved of by the Board or made available to the public.

*Romero cites the work of Berlinger and Bueger; Practical Reflexivity and Political Science: Strategies for Relating Scholarship and Political Practice. He notes, “Traditional intellectuals consider themselves as free floating thinkers, but they are in fact the dominant group’s deputies exercising the subaltern (sic) functions of social hegemony and political government. The organic intellectual in contrast is situated within a certain structure and can help from within by turning attention to the relations of the domination in a society.”

This weekend in the AZDI: MAS unmasked, the minds behind the method