by David Safier
The TUSD Board voted 3-2 to go ahead with its "Culturally Relevant Curriculum" (CRC) courses in history and government, courses designed to fulfill part of the federal court ordered deseg plan. (As has been the case lately, Stegeman and Hicks cast the minority votes.) School has already started, so the vote may sound like too little too late for this year. But the board got around the problem of voting for the courses after school started by having students sign up for the CRC courses and the teachers for those courses getting the necessary training. Teachers simply held off from implementing the new curriculum until the board voted. Today, I imagine, is day one of CRC.
So what's next? Huppenthal doesn't like the new curriculum — most likely he hates it — but so far he's only aired his concerns that the courses don't align themselves closely enough to the current state standards or the coming Common Core standards. Supe Sanchez replied by asking Hupp to show TUSD how it's done: present TUSD with examples of courses that adhered more closely to the standards. The silence from the Department of Ed has been deafening, indicating Hupp's first shot across the bow had more to do with chesting up to Sanchez to see if he'd flinch and less to do with presenting a defensible objection to the courses. Sanchez, to his credit, didn't flinch.
Don't expect Hupp to sit back quietly and watch TUSD implement a program that uses a similar — but not identical — curriculum to the dismantled Mexican American Studies courses. I haven't heard Hupp make any formal statements yet about his next moves, but he was interviewed last Saturday on Robin Hiller's "The State of Education" radio show, where he answered a question about the new courses by saying, "It's as though they were aching for another confrontation." He went on the allude to the powers vested in him by HR 2881, which says he decides which programs are ethnically divisive, teach hatred and all the other vague stipulations of the law.
Meanwhile, CRC courses are being taught at Cholla, Tucson and Pueblo High to give them them a trial run. I expect the next moves to come from Huppental at the state level and Mark Stegeman at the TUSD Board level. Stay tuned.