More comment on TUSD's Unitary Status Plan - Tucson News Now

More comment on TUSD's Unitary Status Plan

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Two families, one African American and one Mexican American, sued TUSD and said their children weren't getting the same opportunities as children of other backgrounds in other parts of the district.

This plan, almost forty years later, could be the roadmap to make that happen. And each of these past three nights, people have said Mexican American Studies needs to be one of the markers.

"As a parent, you look for that.  What's inspiring my daughter, what's clicking for her," said Becky Harvey.

"Raza studies, Mexican American Studies teaches hate for white people," said Laura Leighton.

Opponents speak but the vast majority of those argue for the return of Mexican American Studies to TUSD at this third and final public hearing on a plan to end a more than 30-year-old desegregation order.

But more's at stake than MAS.

"My concern is that while it's a great plan, I'm not seeing it attack the real issue," said Charles Collingwood.

Parent and teacher Charles Collingwood says the plan does not specifically say how to improve test scores among African Americans, just that it should happen.

"I don't think the district ever really focused on that problem almost to the point the population is so small, you can continue to make achievements without addressing the problems this population has," said Collingwood.

So many years have passed, attorneys for the families who sued back in the 70s say desegregation is different now, not only about balancing the racial makeup of schools but making sure students of all backgrounds and locations have the same quality of education.

"You want to have schools that are racially balanced schools but at the same time you want to improve educational outcome and equalize educational opportunity," said Nancy Ramirez, MALDEF attorney for the Mendoza plaintiffs.

"It's our fervent hope, at least by Fisher plaintiffs that what we do is someone can look back and say, the whole district became better.  Really, what it's about is dragging the district into the 21st century," said Rubin Salter, Jr., attorney for the Fisher plaintiffs. 

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