9OYS Education Watch

Court approves TUSD's Unitary Status Plan, MAS gets second wind

CREATED Feb. 6, 2013

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Reporter: Maggie Vespa
 
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - "They have made a lot of us feel really unimportant and dehumanized," said one former MAS student, back in 2011.
 
It was a battle that divided TUSD.
 
"I'm seriously disgusted by those who have failed your students and your community," said another.
 
Now, more than a year after the district disbanded the controversial curriculum to keep in line with a custom-made state statute, Mexican American Studies gets a historic second wind.
 
In this 40 page ruling, released Wednesday, the U.S. district court in Tucson approves TUSD's Unitary Status Plan.
 
It's the district's answer to a federal mandate to desegregate area schools.
 
One key component calls for "culturally relevant core courses".
 
This time around, the ruling points out, "core" does not mean "required".
 
But simply one that...
 
"...will satisfy requirements for graduation.  It does not mean that all students must take the course..."
 
And concerning contributions in the classroom, the court argues the classes...
 
"...encourage and strengthen their participation and success and... allow them to improve their educational outcomes."
 
Here it cites evidence from two outside studies that show...
 
"...students who took MAS courses were more likely to graduate from high school on time and to pass state achievement tests than similarly situated peers."
 
But this does not mean MAS is forever out of the academic or political woods.
 
First, the court calls for more research that will...
 
"...make the next round of reports more meaningful and more determinative."
 
Second, it requires these courses are crafted and implemented in line with existing laws, reading...
 
"Only then will the State be in any position to determine whether the culturally relevant courses, developed pursuant to the USP, violate state law."
 
But overall, to the state's objection to the district's attempt at bringing back MAS-style courses, the ruling reads, "There is no manifest injustice caused by this Court's denial of intervention."
 
According to the Unitary Status Plan, which, in its entirety is a four year deal, TUSD will begin offering those courses at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.