HT Sanchez’s polite, pointed email to John Huppenthal

by David Safier

TUSD's new Culturally Relevant Curriculum (CRC) is currently being taught in three district high schools after being approved by the board on August 13. John Huppenthal is not happy with the decision, as he made clear on the Bill Buckmaster Show the next day. One of Huppenthal's complaints was that "they" — by which he almost certainly meant new TUSD Superintendent HT Sanchez — misled the audience and the school board into thinking Huppenthal and the DOE not only reviewed the CRC courses but approved them as well. Huppenthal stated that Sanchez created the same wrong impression at an earlier board meeting. The Arizona Daily Independent took Huppenthal's statement on the Buckmaster Show and ran with it.

Huppenthal apparently never spoke to Sanchez about his concerns. Instead, he used the media to accuse Sanchez of misrepresenting the DOE's review of the CRC as approval. That's certainly not the best way to establish a good working relationship with a new superintendent who walked into the middle of the whole Mexican American Studies/Federal Deseg Order/Culturally Relevant Curriculum situation, which he inherited from his predecessor.

Instead of responding in kind and addressing Huppenthal's allegations by talking to the media, Sanchez wrote Huppenthal and J. Elliott Hibbs, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction, an email on August 18, which you can read at the end of this post.

In his email, Sanchez expressed his preference for commmunicating directly with people about any questions, comments or concerns he might have, and he hoped that Huppenthal will do the same in the future.

A phone call or visit would have clarified that I have never stated to the Tucson Unified School District (herein denoted as the TUSD) Governing Board that the Arizona Department of Education (herein denoted as the ADE) approved any TUSD curriculum. In my letter on the 17th of July, I was very clear in acknowledging that this was not the role of the ADE. I also stated multiple times in open session that the ADE did not approve the curriculum but rather provided feedback.

He ended by writing that he welcomes a direct conversation and will travel to Phoenix to meet with Huppenthal, because "work that relates to our students deserves a conversation among gentlemen."

You can read the entire email below. The "attached article" Sanchez refers to is the Arizona Daily Independent piece I mentioned above.

Subject: Commitment to Open Communication

In a meeting with Mr. Hibbs, I cited that I will always communicate directly with those with whom I have question, comment, or concern. I maintain such. I wrote a letter July 17, 2013 and sent it via email and through the U.S. Postal Service. I never released the letter to the media, as the matter was work and communication between us, not the media. I maintain my desire for direct communication. I have read the attached article (scroll to the bottom) and your interview on the Buckmaster show.

A phone call or visit would have clarified that I have never stated to the Tucson Unified School District (herein denoted as the TUSD) Governing Board that the Arizona Department of Education (herein denoted as the ADE) approved any TUSD curriculum. In my letter on the 17th of July, I was very clear in acknowledging that this was not the role of the ADE. I also stated multiple times in open session that the ADE did not approve the curriculum but rather provided feedback. I have included your memorandum to me on August 7, 2013 where review of the documents is acknowledged. 

I welcome a direct conversation very soon. Please let me know when you are available, and I will travel to Phoenix. I look forward to visiting. As I am accustomed, work that relates to our students deserves a conversation among gentlemen. I look forward to the establishment of a partnership with you and your office. Together, we can accomplish much for our students.

-HT

5 responses to “HT Sanchez’s polite, pointed email to John Huppenthal

  1. The new curriculum was crap, and in so many words, blog for arizona said so itself when it came out.

  2. To paraphrase Steve Lemons, Huppenthal has told another whopper. And Stegeman has joined him. As Dave points out, contrary to Huppenthal’s false assertions, HT did not indicate that ADE had approved the curriculum. That is bad enough. But Huppenthal and Stegeman’s new whopper is to accuse TUSD of reneging on a non-existent agreement to submit the new CRC curricula to Huppenthal. They both try to smear TUSD with false accusations that TUSD agreed to submit the new CRC curricula to Huppenthal for approval, which it did not. Hupp said it in an interview on 104.1 with James Harris and Stegeman said it in an interview with Buckmaster.

    Stegeman worked against the District with Huppenthal on the last go-round and it looks like he is in cahoots with Hupp again.

  3. Sanchez continues to impress for one so young. Huppenthal has his work (read ‘agenda’) cut out for him.

  4. Brian Clymer

    Yes, indeed.

  5. Well done by Dr. Sanchez.