Monday, January 18, 2016

REQUEST for PK12-Curriculum Guides OR university syllabi w MAS/Chican@ Studies content


Dear PK12, Elementary, Secondary, and Post-Secondary Educator:

I have a request for your immediate assistance concerning my retention as an expert on behalf of the plaintiffs in the United States District Court for the State of Arizona in Maya Arce, et al. v. Diane Douglas, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, et al.  This may be more easily remembered as the case against the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) by former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal who terminated the Mexican American Studies program in TUSD but who has since been superseded by Diane Douglas (see abbreviated “Timeline of Events" below).

My role in the case is to examine the history of Mexican American Studies, its impact on student achievement and how MAS—or the teaching of students’ culture, history, language, and literature, etc.—is a sound curricular response to Mexican American and/or other students’ achievement.  

I will of course use my own work to respond to this but I would additionally appreciate receiving from you any PK12-Curriculum Guides/Lessons or post-secondary college-level syllabi that substantively reflects MAS or Chican@ Studies content whether taught in the context of an MAS program or not.  I am also interested in these from an historical perspective, dating back to the first courses that you ever taught or supervised. 

Note: You do not have to be currently teaching these courses to provide us with these. Nor do these courses have to be taught in the U.S.  Syllabi from MAS courses taught in other countries are welcome, too.  Published articles about curriculum that may accompany these primary materials are also appreciated. If these materials have been digitized, then please send us links to these, as well—specifically to Ashlee Peña together with your current contact information.

If you teach bilingual education or dual language courses, my interest in your curriculum guide or syllabus pertains expressly to courses that draw on MAS content. 

The focus in this part of my expert work is to examine the use of MAS as an intervention strategy and the historic use of such to address student underachievement in our nation’s PK, elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this.  I really appreciate it as my brief is due in 8 weeks and Ashlee and I need time to collect and read all of these in preparation for my report. Gracias!



Angela Valenzuela, Ph.D.
Education Policy and Planning
Department of Educational Administration
1912 Speedway D5400, SZB 374H
The University of Texas
 Austin, TX 78712-1604


May 11, 2010—Arizona legislature passes HB 2281 that is codified in statute as ARS 15-111 and 15-112.

October 18, 2010—Maya Arce et al. filed a lawsuit against the State Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne alleging a violation of their U. S. constitutional rights, this includes the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

December 30, 2010— Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne issued a finding that TUSD is in violation of 15-112.

January, 2011—Tom Horne becomes Attorney General for the State of Arizona.

January, 2011—Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal becomes Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction, replacing Tom Horne.

January 4, 2011— Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal issues a press release supporting Tom Horn findings, But instead of enforcing his ruling, he retains Cambium as an independent auditor.

May 2, 2011— the Cambium Report is released, finding no evidence of any violations. Huppenthal rejects the Cambium Report and calls for the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to conduct its own separate investigation of the program.  Then on the basis of this latter investigation by the ADE, John Huppenthal found TUSD’s MAS program to be in violation of ARS 15-112.  The books used as part of the TUSD's MAS curriculum were subsequently banned and the program was dismantled. You may view the list of banned books here.

January 10, 2012—The TUSD School Board summarily dismantled the MAS program, banning not solely classes, but also the books that were used in the program.

March 8, 2013—The district court dismisses the plaintiff’s claim in Maya Arce et al. regarding the denial of equal protection.

July 7, 2015—the 9th Circuit reversed the district court’s decision in the plaintiffs favor and remands the case back to the district court—back to Judge Wallace Tashima—for a trial on the merits, which is where we are right now.  Please see this Huffington Post article written by Tony Díaz to read about the specifics of the decision. The trial is expected to be in Fall, 2016.

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