Quotes and Excerpts
Letter to the Editor,
re: TUSD Ethnic Studies (Mexican-American/Raza Studies)
By Debbie Niwa - June 17, 2009
cc: Senator Jonathan Paton, Superintendent Tom Horne, TUSD Superintendent Elizabeth Celania-Fagen, Tucson Unified School District Governing Board
Dear Arizona Daily Star:
Are you kidding?: "State must not override local control of schools" (ADS opinion, 6/12/09)http://www.azstarnet.com/opinion/297104.php >
TUSD's ethnic studies -- including Mexican-American/Raza Studies -- were not birthed out of widespread local desire, but out of special interest, as well as federal and international agendas. U.S. education is disintegrating because local communities lost control of our public schools decades ago.
Superintendent Horne is doing a favor for parents and taxpayers by proposing to curb State funding for what is simply outside meddling in local affairs and sidestepping State graduation requirements. I'm just waiting for Horne to recommend the same for the equally questionable costly International Baccalaureate Programs that are being adopted by school districts in Arizona.
Ethnic studies is an expense that runs in 7-digits. It should be presented to voters for funding approval so we can say "no" -- just as we have done with other dubious "programs." Instead, TUSD uses non-voter approved desegregation funds for what amounts to ethnically segregating students under the guise of "ethnic studies."
If schools stayed focused on the simple basics including teaching all kids to read, then a student could independently delve into cultural issues. And I would add, it is the prerogative of parents to decide what they choose to pass on to their child with regard to their ethnic heritage.
The Star would have been more on-target to write an op-ed titled "TUSD leaders must not override local taxpayer and parental control of schools."
P.S. As a parent of a former TUSD student who was considered a minority and fell under the radar of the ethnic studies initiatives, I oppose using curriculum and activities that ethnically segregate. I am also against K-12 use of all agenda-laden ethnic (a.k.a. multicultural) studies. Given what I have seen of such classroom materials, the benefits are negligible if they exist at all.