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State of Arizona

Department of Education

November 20, 2014

Dr. H. Sanchez, Superintendent


Tucson Unified School District
1010 E. 10th Street
Tucson, AZ 85719

Dear Superintendent Sanchez:


As you know, since TUSD agreed to suspend its MAS program, this Department has worked
with TUSD to monitor its development of appropriate, multi-cultural social studies and English
language arts curricula that meet Arizonas standards and comply with state law in other
respects. We have also devoted substantial resources to observing TUSD classrooms, to ensure
that classroom teaching adheres to state standards and does not violate A.R.S. 15-112.
Throughout this process, TUSD has assured us that it intends to comply with state law.
Unfortunately, the Department has become aware of statements made at the recent National
Association of Multicultural Educators conference that was held in Tucson earlier this month.
We understand that the principal of Pueblo Magnet High School, Augustine Romero, asserted at
this conference that the Mexican American Studies curriculum that was found to have violated
state law is in fact being taught in Tucson Unified School District at present. Such assertions
are troubling. As you know, TUSD agreed to suspend its MAS classes and to work with the
Department to implement new culturally relevant curricula that would not violate A.R.S. 15112, in lieu of having 10% of its state aid withheld as a penalty.
It bears repeating that the Departments primary concern is the education of this states students.
That every school district develops and implements curricula that allow students to learn to
Arizona state standards is of paramount importance. We thus hope that TUSD is in compliance
with state law. However, because of the public nature of Principal Romeros assertions, we are
compelled to request that TUSD provide proof that these statements are false. More specifically,
ADE requests that TUSD provide the following information: all tests, assessments, quizzes,
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assignments (including samples of student work), lesson plans, and all materials used in social
studies and English language arts classes designated as Mexican-American, African-American
and multi-cultural. Please provide any additional information that the District believes is
relevant to the question of what is being taught in these classes. TUSD should provide all such
information for every teacher and every class teaching culturally relevant curricula. Please
provide such information to us by December 4, 2014.
TUSD should understand that the Department takes seriously its obligation to our states students
to ensure that TUSDs curricula meets state standards, and that it does not violate A.R.S. 15112. For this reason, if TUSD does not comply with this request, the Department will conclude,
based on Mr. Romeros comments, that TUSD may be acting in violation of its settlement
agreement with the Department and will take all appropriate steps available to it under the law.
Sincerely,

Dr. Jennifer Johnson


Deputy Superintendent
Arizona Department of Education

CC:

Superintendent John Huppenthal


Dr. Steven Holmes, Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning
J. Elliott Hibbs, Deputy Superintendent
Carol Lippert, Associate Superintendent
Sarah Galetti, Deputy Associate Superintendent
Leslie Cooper, Assistant Attorney General

1535 West Jefferson Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85007 (602) 542-5441 www.azed.gov