A second look at the TUSD vote on the Unitary Plan (and the quote of the day)


by David Safier

I jumped to the same conclusion many others did following Tuesday's TUSD Board meeting, that the Board OK'd the Unitary (deseg) Plan which included the mandate that the District create "culturally relevant courses" that will be core classes, not electives — in other words, something similar to the disbanded MAS program. Now it appears that isn't so. The previous TUSD complaint over the "core courses" language remains, but a new complaint was voted down.

I'm not up on parliamentary procedure, but it looks to me like Mark Stegeman tried to pull two fast ones and succeeded with one of them. He wanted to bundle a vote on the Unitary Plan with his new objection to the "core courses" stipulation, which would have put Adelita Grijalva in a bind along with others who wanted to vote for the Plan as is. Any way they voted would have been wrong. Grijalva wisely separated the two votes, thwarting that plan. But if Stegeman was aware the previous complaint on the "core courses" stipulation was still in effect, he successfully pulled the wool over everyone else's eyes, since they thought their vote was a straight-up approval of the Plan.

(Quote of the Day below the fold.)

On another note, the ever thorough Stephen Lemons, AKA Feathered Bastard, of the Phoenix New Times, has a terrific article about the recent MAS developments and their repercussions. And he has the ultimate snark about Tom Horne's contention that the state law that led to the disbanding of the MAS program trumps the Federal deseg decision.

Horne tells the court that its requirements concerning this new curriculum "will violate Arizona law, promote segregation, and prompt the return of the discredited Mexican-American Studies (MAS) Program."

The AG further admonishes Judge Bury that, "no authority allows a federal court to disregard this Arizona law."

Maybe they didn't cover the U.S. Constitution, Brown v. the Board of Education, the Supremacy Clause, and the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause back when Horne was at Harvard Law.

Priceless. FYI, Lemons doesn't like the AG very much.


  1. Dave, I don’t often disagree with you. But I say that the quote of the day HAS to be Lemons’ statement regarding Horne’s objections to the Unitary Status Plan: “if I were one of the Assistant Attorney Generals who affixed their names to this steaming pile of far right ideology masquerading as a legal brief, I would be embarrassed beyond belief.” It sounds like hyperbole, but if you read Horne’s brief, you will see that Lemons is serious. I’m not only jealous that he coins a phrase like that, but that he gets to use it! Lot’s of lawyers would like to use that line, if they only could.