Overshadowed by the ballot fallout in the recent elections in Arizona, a long-awaited and historic federal desegregation proposal was released earlier this month that could reinstate the Tucson Unified School District's nationally acclaimed but dismantled Mexican American Studies Program.
The next three days in Tucson could set the stage for one of the most important education revivals in the nation. And one nationally celebrated educator from Tucson — Mexican American Studies co-founder Sean Arce — should return to the forefront and stand out as its resilient helmsman.
Several questions abound: How decisive a role will the lame duck TUSD school board, whose anti-MAS majority will shift to a newly elected school board in January 2013, play in determining the district's objections to the proposal? And who should shape a revived or revamped Mexican American Studies program?
As students, parents, educators and nationwide observers line up at three public forums in Tucson this week to offer their comments on the "Unitary Status Plan," a proposed agreement overseen by a federally appointed special master and negotiated by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and legal representatives for African American students, two facts remain: No other high school program in the nation has gone through such scrutiny, media abuse and disinformation as TUSD's Mexican American Studies program, and no other high school program has continually been vindicated by documented studies for its undeniable success in alleviating the achievement gap, graduating college-bound students, and inspiring community-engaged youth.