Today there was a Press Conference held in front of TUSD Board Member Mark Stegeman’s house. The purpose was to address the recent decision by Stegeman to ‘unban’ books which he previously helped get taken out of the classroom.This is felt to be a political tactic and not sincere in the least. Here are some photographs.
Here is some more info:
On January 10th 2012, the Tucson Unified School District board voted to suspend all Mexican (MAS) classes with a 4-1 vote. A few days after the resolution was passed TUSD representatives entered the classrooms and boxed hundreds of MAS books, thus starting the BAN on Mexican American history books and renowned Chicano literature, which historically document the stories and contributions of Mexican Americans to the U.S.
Fast-forward six months to the upcoming July 24th school board meeting. Former board President and current board member, Mark Stegeman, will be introducing a resolution to “un-ban” the MAS books he had voted to box up in February. As representatives of the movement to reinstate MAS in TUSD schools we question this move on several fronts. Why now? What does Dr. Stegeman hope to gain by this strange reversal? After two years of a relentless drive to help eliminate the MAS program from TUSD, is Stegeman now reconsidering the damage he has inflicted on TUSD students and the Mexican American community or is this an attempt to bolster his re-election campaign by telling more lies to sugar coat the truth?
We believe Dr. Stegeman’s gesture is a poor attempt to placate what he would refer to as “restless natives”. Stegeman’s shady maneuvering to distance himself from his previous decisions and reverse such a serious issue as banning books from classrooms, calls into questions every one of the board’s votes concerning MAS. We further question whether it has really taken Dr. Stegeman six months to come to the realization that banning books is wrong or if the successful efforts of Tucson Freedom Summer are posing a threat to Dr. Stegeman and his re-election. As Tucson Freedom Summer participants survey dozens of local households, evidence of deep concerns regarding TUSD’s actions toward MAS is emerging and is being strategically documented.
Tucson Freedom Summer (a project of Save Ethnic Studies) is a national convergence of activist, artists and organizers who in addition to a month of cultural and educational events are currently launching a citywide informational canvass and survey about the state of education in Tucson. Information about events and volunteering activities can be found at Tucsonfreedomsummer.com and
on Facebook at Tucson Freedom Summer 2012.