Superintendent rules against TUSD Ethnic Studies courses

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- For months, everyone involved in the fight over Ethnic Studies have been waiting for an answer from Superintendent John Huppenthal. He was reviewing whether the TUSD course violated a new state law. Wednesday evening they got that answer.

After reading through reviews by auditors and other materials on TUSD's Mexican American Studies program, state schools Superintendent John Huppenthal made his ruling.

"As a result of the investigation in review of the Mexican American studies program and its material classroom material and content, I find there's substantial evidence of a clear violations of Arizona Revised Statute section 15-112," said Huppenthal.

Superintendent Huppenthal believes the program doesn't comply with the following three of the four class enforcement rules:

Promote resentment towards a race or class of people.

Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic race.

Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.

"Just a few examples of the evidence supporting this finding, reviewed materials repeatedly referring to white people as being oppressors and oppressing the Latino people," said Huppenthal.

The state law reads that if one of the four rules is broken a class is considered out of complacence.

Now TUSD board members have about two months to come within compliance or face losing almost $15 million.

"We need to figure out how much change we need to to make to satisfy him, were going to meet on Friday to discuss the situation an executives session," said TUSD Board President Mark Stegeman.

As for guidance from Huppenthal, he's hoping TUSD can figure things out.

"They have gotten themselves into a very tight corner with their actions so we can't provide any road map for them in the future.  This is a local control state.  The ball is back in their court," said Huppenthal.

The group Save Ethnic Studies plans to hold a press conference Thursday to discuss the ruling.