Effort to Return MAS Books to Classrooms Fails in Tucson

Early this year, CBLDF joined a coalition of organizations to decry the removal of seven books by renown Latino and Native authors from Tucson, Arizona, classrooms. Last week, TUSD Governing Board Member Mark Stegeman brought forth a resolution to put the removed books back into Tucson classrooms, but the resolution did not go to vote when Stegeman realized he did not have the support of other members of the school board.

Stegeman played a key role in the dissolution of Tucson’s highly-praised Mexican American Studies program, claiming that the program violated Arizona state law. As a result, the books were removed from classrooms. Stegeman claims that while he still believes ending the MAS program was the right thing to do, he believes the books should be returned to classrooms.

Fellow board member Adelita Grijalva doesn’t think Stegeman’s being entirely honest. From the Arizona Daily Star:

Board member Adelita Grijalva was the most vocal in her disapproval of the resolution, calling Stegeman’s effort a “campaign strategy” and the “height of hypocrisy.”

“I don’t think the irony is lost on anyone who has been paying attention,” said Grijalva, who did not support the dismantling of the classes in January. “If this were actually a true consideration of the fact that mistakes were made, then I would happily be voting, but this really merely is words.

“None of the curriculum that goes with these books will come back.”

Stegeman denies that the move is a bid to get more votes in the November election, but many people in Tucson remain dissatisfied with the end of the MAS program and the removal of the books from classrooms.

You can read CBLDF’s coverage of the Tucson book removal and the fallout here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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Betsy Gomez is the Web Editor for CBLDF.