January 12, 2012
Dear Faculty and Staff:
As you all know, at its regularly scheduled meeting on January 10 the Governing Board approved a resolution to suspend all Mexican American Studies Classes. The decision took effect immediately following the board's decision. Of primary concern to the board was the strength of the judicial ruling that found the district out of compliance and the severe penalty associated with that ruling. It would have been impossible for Tucson Unified School District to absorb a 10% penalty to the state-funded portion of our maintenance and operations budget without severe repercussions that would impact all members of our organization and, ultimately, students. Board members did not take this action lightly and did what they believed was in the best interest of all students.
It is important to know that this decision was difficult and not without consequence. The faculty and staff in the Mexican American Studies Department are understandably distressed, and students who were enrolled in the courses supported by the department are dealing with a multitude of questions that must be answered honestly and with a high degree of sensitivity.
We have taken action to have administration at each school to personally inform all students about the decision and to offer opportunities for dialogue and support. Additionally, all faculty involved were told about the decision and in the cases where it was both possible and rational to convert classes into a more conventional curriculum, provided support to do so.
The approved motion required that district staff revise the core social studies curriculum to increase its coverage of Mexican-American history and culture and to provide a balanced view of diverse viewpoints on controversial issues. It is the board's expectation that we enhance the quality of instruction in these and other courses to include a more inclusive perspective that will provide high levels of transparency and awareness.
I trust that each of you has personal feelings about this situation and the board's decision. You should know that we will make every effort to implement this decision with integrity and resolve. Our first priority must be the welfare of our students followed closely by our concern for our staff members.