Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

So far, MAS supporters have not accepted Pedicone’s olive branch. Now what?

On Monday of this week, Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) Superintendent John Pedicone sent conciliatory letters to two groups integrally involved in the fight to save TUSD’s Mexican American Studies (MAS) program from being reorganized– the MAS Community Advisory Board and UNIDOS (the young adult activists group who chained themselves to the school board dias and shut down the April 26 board meeting).

In nearly identical letters which were meant to smooth tensions, Pedicone said he urged the school board to table the controversial reorganization plan and asked to meet with the two groups.

Buried in the middle of today’s Arizona Daily Star is a follow-up story which states that neither group has responded Pedicone’s letters.

TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone has reached out to supporters of the Mexican American Studies program in an effort to improve relations.

Pedicone sent letters Monday to the youth-formed coalition Unidos and to the Mexican American Studies Community Advisory Board asking for an opportunity to speak and listen to one another.
He said he has yet to hear back from them.

Relations between the groups and the district have been strained since former Arizona schools chief Tom Horne declared the Mexican American Studies program in violation of state law.

In my article about the letters, I stated that I supported Pedicone’s suggestion to table the reorganization plan, and I hoped that UNIDOS and the MAS Board would accept his peace offering. Sadly, five days later, they haven’t.

UNIDOS and the Latino activists, educators, and politicians (Councilwoman Regina Romero and Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias) on the MAS Board should put down their sabres and step up to the table for an open discussion with Pedicone, representatives from the Center for Civility and Understanding, and others. They also should be willing to participate in a community forum– where everyone is allowed to speak– not just those who shout the loudest.

The time for fighting and divisive language by MAS supporters– including their attack dog blogger– is over. This behavior is tearing our community apart.

It has been reported that soon– maybe even later today– State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal will announce his finding regarding MAS compliance or non-compliance with HB2281 (the legislation that started all of this last summer when governor Brewer signed it). If MAS and TUSD are found to be out of compliance, the district will be fined 10%– in the neighborhood of $15 million. On facebook, MAS supporters are calling for TUSD to ignore the fine and fight the state in court. There are too many questions about exactly what is being taught in the MAS classes; there has been anything but transparency.

I think it would be fiscally irresponsible for TUSD to lose $15 million– enough to fund 500 new teachers– over this battle. TUSD has to think about all of the 50,000 students it serves; they should not bow to the tyranny of the minority.


8 comments on “So far, MAS supporters have not accepted Pedicone’s olive branch. Now what?

  1. Plain Ol' B.O.
    May 20, 2011

    It’s summer, schools out, including at the University where particpation is given consideration during grading.

    The only ones who “care” now will be exposed as the tide rolls out-
    The same set of folks who have held  Tucson back, made Tucson look foolish while lining their pockets with various lawsuits for twenty years now.

     Common sense will tell you what happens now- Follow the money and those in politics who ride the taxpayer like a pony, while all they really wanted was streets without potholes and cops who take reports at accident sites.


  2. cruz
    May 20, 2011

    Don’t be surprised when the State takes over TUSD, have you noticed the number Charter Schools there are in Tucson – people are sick and tired of what is taking place with TUSD, which is why I pulled my daughter from TUSD several years ago and it was proven to be a smart move.


  3. panicattack
    May 20, 2011

    They said they wouldn’t work with the district until their demands were met, why didn’t Pedicone take them seriously?


  4. leftfield
    May 20, 2011

    I think Huppenthal’s announcement will be a game-changer.  Not much suspense in what his finding will be, but it will likely bring new energy and activity to the struggle.  


  5. Plain Ol' B.O.
    May 20, 2011

    Much like making the classes elective, which allows “young activists” the ability to duck much harder core classes for the 10-15% who wish to start down that easy road of life early….

    The entire “energy” and “activity” of this “struggle”  has blown out of the brillant young students wsince you now will be asking them to do it on their own time with no reward in sight.    

    Pffthhhh….. Some puppetmasters


  6. cruz
    May 20, 2011

    Thanks Pam for not removing my comments like your buddy over on the 3 Sonorans, I’m guessing he doesn’t like non believers.


    • Pamela Powers
      May 20, 2011

      He must have marked your comment as spam because I had to go in and approve it. I saw he blocked all comments on a few articles yesterday.

      Anyway, I allow all comments– except those that are just name-calling (with no other content) or threats of physical violence against anyone.


      • cruz
        May 20, 2011

        I’m thinking because because I’m Hispanic and not falling in line he doesn’t like me anymore – everyone has their own mind and make decisions based on what they believe, anyway thanks for not deleting just to delete.


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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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