Recently in Tucson’s local newspaper of record, an editor penned a piece in which she claimed that Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal and Attorney General Tom Horne lost their re-election bids in the August 25, Republican primaries, due in part to their opposition to Mexican American Studies.
The author, Sarah Garrecht Gassen, an ideologue of the simplest kind and mind, alludes in her screed to a causal relationship between the rejection of the two men by Republican voters and their opposition to their actions against the Tucson Unified School District Mexican American Studies classes in 2011. Garrecht Gassen’s conclusion is so spurious that is nearly inconsequential, but the danger would be to treat it as such.
One must first look at her claim:
“Huppenthal and Horne spent years trying to stop La Raza – which they and other opponents translate as “the race,” but in common usage around here means “the public,” or “the people” – and making sure they milked it for every vote they could. Well, turnabout is fair play. Because, Tom Horne and John Huppenthal, it is la raza – the people – who, through the ballot box, have stopped you.”
Horne soundly won the Republican primary in Pima County, home of TUSD. Huppenthal received his largest percentage of votes in Pima County. Horne lost the race in Maricopa County. To think that that the mostly white Republican voters in Maricopa County cared about reviving the indoctrinating classes which inspired a violent takeover of a School Board meeting by kids with little understanding of who or what they were fighting for, is unfathomable.
As one public school advocate pointed out: “In her desire to blame the defeat of Horne and Huppenthal on their opposition to the dismantled Mexican American Studies class, Ms. Sarah Garrecht Gassen “forgot” this was a Republican primary. She could probably count all the Republicans in the state who supported the racist MAS program just using her fingers and toes. While we are on the topic of numbers, I was surprised she did not repeat the lie told by the man who developed the MAS program; Dr. Auggie Romero. He claimed that more than 98% of students who took at least one MAS class graduated from high school on time. TUSD’s own statistician, David Scott, debunked that lie when he reported his findings that 83% of TUSD students who took an MAS class graduated, and that figure was statistically the same as the 83% of all TUSD students who graduated.”
Garrecht Gassen ‘s op-ed is consequential not for the truth of it, but for the fact that few might never look at the voting data. They will buy her conclusions at face value, and they call themselves enlightened… and they vote.
They vote based on the lies told by the likes of Sarahs in this world.
Sarah should tell the voters about the MAS Math by Genocide lesson (read it here) plan for elementary students. But most likely she can’t because she would have to know about it first, and then she would have to have the guts to defend it.
But she and her ilk don’t have the facts or the guts.
Here are the facts:
Books were never banned by the TUSD Governing Board. However, many authors sold many of those books by claiming that they were banned.
The vast majority of families in TUSD rejected the courses long before Horne and Huppenthal intervened to finally end them. Enrollment was miniscule, and too many of the few kids who did participate, were selected for their vulnerability by MAS teachers.
The classes did not teach of the rich cultural history of the southwest and the contributions of Mexican Americans. They taught, through lesson plans offered for classroom use such as Stand Like a Soldier, Justice for Janitors (read it here), and Counting with Social Justice (read it here), that the white man is evil, and the destruction of our capitalist society, and one race are the only solutions for another race.
The Cambium Audit reviewed a slight fraction of MAS materials, and interviewed only hand-picked proponents of the classes.
As stated previously, the classes did nothing to improve the graduation rates of MAS students.
Students were treated like trained seals; fed when they showed up, and patted on the head when they performed on demand.
Facts are pesky things, and they get in the way of an agenda. As long as business people wrap themselves in the flag and buy ads, which fund the platform for Sarah and her ilk, the people will rarely have a chance to control an election outcome. Instead, the outcome will be controlled by the big monied guys who sell their wares through her publication.
As for her claim that the people defeated Horne; nothing could be further from the truth. God knows that I am not a Horne apologist. I have been critical of him from the very beginning, but I have also tried to be intellectually honest, and Sarah should try it once in a great while.
Horne was defeated by the very forces that want to keep their private prisons well-stocked with warm bodies and empty angry minds. The private prison industry supported his opponent with dark-money-funded-hit-pieces.
Horne was defeated by the corporatists who were outraged when he his office, in a rare moment of competency, sided with consumers on the U.S. Airways merger. Sarah, it was his concern for kids and consumers that cost him the office. The corporatists were aided by prudes, who got played by the corporatists.
It would be much more correct to say that Horne and Huppenthal lost despite their opposition to the educationally worthless program that both state and federal courts found violated Arizona law.
As for Huppenthal; he didn’t suffer from his actions on Mexican American Studies (MAS). Quite the contrary, it was his actions on MAS that might have saved him from a complete shut out at the polls. Once again those corporatists played a part in the outcome. The money the chambers of commerce spent on behalf of their Common Core flag bearer could not save him from the masses.
It was Common Core, not MAS that led to the destruction of Huppenthal. His racist and elitist comments left on obscure progressive blogs had little to do with his loss than most of us would like. Far too many people, on both sides of the aisle, read the comments and didn’t find anything wrong with them.
If in Sarah’s opinion, Horne and Huppenthal committed acts against humanity by preventing the indoctrination of beautiful children at the hands of political monsters then she herself is a political monster.
As a mother, of a child with one of the finest minds in the country, which was developed in public schools by underpaid and underappreciated teachers, I know the value of teachers; teachers who share knowledge and allow for independent exploration and critical thinking. Political predators do not belong in our classrooms. Our kids deserve better.
In reality, neither Huppenthal or Horne shut down the MAS classes. Federal Judge Wallace Tashima, a President Jimmy Carter appointee, Tashima ruling (read it here)found Arizona’s law; HB2281, which was sponsored by immigrant lawmaker Representative Steve Montenegro, to be constitutional. Diverse members of TUSD’s Governing Board including Miguel Cuevas, Michael Hicks, Mark Stegeman, and Alexander Sugiyama, bravely voted to obey Arizona’s law.
That is the reality.
Sarah’s readers get what they deserve, and the rest of us, including the kids in TUSD usually don’t.