The Tucson Unified School District governing board approved culturally relevant courses in history and government Tuesday night. The vote was close. The board approved the classes three to two, just like it did for the literature courses last month.
The course is address core curricula in the areas of literature, history, and government; however; they also include either ate Mexican American or African American perspective on these events. The state of Arizona outlawed Mexican American Studies a few years ago. But a federal lawsuit has TUSD underage desegregation order. In order to reach unitary status, the courses must be offered. The board approved the classes Tuesday with only the books from the traditional courses in mind. Any additional books for the culturally relevant aspect will be voted on in two weeks.
"We're using the existing books, and these courses would begin effective this week, and we would begin supporting these teachers and moving these courses forward," said TUSD superintendent HT Sanchez.
While the board was not unanimous, the audience also had speakers on both sides of the issue.
"I reviewed the two curricula regarding history and government of the culturally relevant classes and the first thing that caught my eye was how vague they are without hardly a mention of any textbooks at all," said course critic Laura Leighton.
"I was actually incredibly impressed by how air tight it is. It adheres to the state standards . It adheres to the core curriculum," said course supporter Betts Putnam Hidalgo.
The courses will be offered Pueblo, Cholla, and Tucson high schools.
The board also received and update on repairs to Van Buskirk elementary school after monsoon damage. While repairs to the roof and interior cost about $200,000, the district is insured and has a $100,000 deductible. Students and teachers are expected to return from the gym to their classrooms in mid-October.
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