District Administration - March 2012 - (Page 32)
by Marion Herbert
Tucson Grapples With Ethnic Studies Ban
first ruled in violation of the law last the arizona department June by arizona’s state superintenof education gave the tucson Unified dent, John huppenthal. The disSchool district an ultimatum: trict appealed this ruling, although eliminate all ethnic studies courses it was overturned by a state judge. or face massive financial sanctions. This past January was the second The district was found out of time the district was found failing compliance by the state of arizona to comply, which is why the state according to hB 2281, which orders has threatened financial sanctions. districts in the state to stop teaching “it’s discriminatory and anticoncourses that promote ethnic solidarstitutional,” says norma Gonzalez, a ity. The district’s mexican-american former mexican-american Studies studies courses came under fire in teacher with tUSd and the foundearly January 2012 after a review TUSD first came under scrutiny for its ethnic studies er of a campaign against the law by the department of education. in program in Jan. 2011. Here, Former Arizona schools chief through Change.org. Gonzalez says a swift decision made days after the Tom Horne points to a quotation from a textbook used in these courses are what engaged the state ruled their program was out of the Mexican-American studies class. hispanic students, who make up compliance, the tUSd school board voted to eliminate all mexican-american studies classes and as- roughly 60 percent of the 60,000 students in the district. Since the decision in January, many teachers have been left sociated books on Jan. 10. “The approved motion required that district staff revise in the dark about how they will go forward. “For lack of a better the core social studies curriculum to increase its coverage of term, i’m in limbo right now,” said Gonzalez on Jan. 31, nearly mexican-american history and culture and to provide a bal- three weeks after the decision. “The district has not come foranced view of diverse viewpoints on controversial issues,” said ward yet and said what i or my colleagues are allowed to do. The tUSd Superintendent John pedicone in a letter to parents in only thing that is definitive is what we’re not allowed to teach.” Gonzalez’s petition to make banned hispanic books availthe district on Jan. 12. “it is important to know that this decision able, and not be stored in an off-site storage facility, garnered was difficult and not without consequences.” This is the not the first time tUSd’s program has come un- nearly 15,000 signatures within one week of its launch on Jan. der fire. The district’s mexican-american studies program was 24. to view the petition, visit www.change.org.
Lawmakers Consider Early Graduation Policies
Offering incentives tO HigH school students to complete their courses early is an idea popping up around the country. the early High school graduation scholarship Program bill in the Missouri state legislature, for example, promises scholarships to students completing high school in less than four years. the bill, proposed by state sen. scott rupp in January, was created in hopes of increasing student achievement, encouraging students to pursue college as an affordable option, and perhaps save the state’s school districts some revenue. states such as Arizona, idaho and Utah have similar provisions, and indiana gov. Mitch Daniels established the Mitch Daniels early graduation scholarship program in the state’s 2012-2013 budget. the amount of each scholarship differs by state. indiana, for example, spends roughly $5,864 per student, according to the state’s Department of education. that money will be redirected from the state toward their tuition, rather than to the district. While such scholarships are generally costneutral, according to a study released last August by Jobs for the future (Jff), if early graduation scholarships cost less than the K12 allotments they replace, districts can save money. “the most important consequence of this is getting low-income and underrepresented students access to college opportunities,” says Diane Ward, director of state education policy for Jff. Ward encourages lawmakers evaluating early graduation incentives to consider the following: students graduating early meet the same or higher competencies as their peers who graduate in four years, such students are ready to start college without remediation, and low-income students are targeted with strategies to complete collegelevel courework in high school.
32 March 2012
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - March 2012
District Administration - March 2012
From the Editor
Inside the Law
Building an Ed Tech Dream Team
Are you Ready for Common Core Math?
A Crystal Ball for Student Achievement
The Single Largest Education Donor Comes With Controversy
Models of Education Reform
District Administration - March 2012