Get ready for the Arizona Department of Education's War on TUSD, Part 2. It's almost inevitable. Almost. Only Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal can call off the bitter, destructive battle by declaring a truce. And that's exactly what he should do.
If you remember, Tom Horne and Huppenthal turned TUSD's Mexican American Studies program into a Republican bête noire, using it to rile up the base and win their 2010 elections. The Legislature joined in the fun when it passed HB 2881, which gave Huppenthal the authority to play judge, jury and executioner and declare MAS illegal. By January 2012, the program was gone.
The problem is, there's a federal desegregation order saying TUSD has to create "culturally relevant courses of instruction" for African-American and Latino students, putting the district somewhere between a state rock and a federal hard place. TUSD wrote its new Culturally Relevant Curriculum—similar in many ways to the MAS curriculum—and began teaching the classes in August. To no one's surprise, Huppenthal issued an ultimatum: either water down the course content or expect the wrath of HB 2881 to come down on the district's head once again.