Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Librotraficantes en Tucson

Better Late than Nunca
This is a bit anachronistic, but here's some photos and descriptions from Dia de San Patricio when the Librotraficantes brought banned books to Tucson. Sorry for the delay...

Members of MECHA at Tucson High School thank and welcome librotraficante ( Tony Diaz by presenting him with posters from Save Ethnic Studies (, the organization working against the banning of Tucson Unified School District’s Ethnic Studies program and books.

Save Ethnic Studies posters (

Tucson High School student acknowledges the former Ethnic Studies educators and students in attendance. One of the librotraficantes came forward and recited a poem about the students’ spirit of resistance.

Tucson High Students ask everyone present to write words of encouragement on the poster with images associated with Tucson Ethnic Studies, librotraficantes, banned books and student walkouts (

Diaz introduces the young woman (left) who recounted her experience walking out o f classes, resulting in suspension, as a part of the protest of the outlawing of Ethnic Studies and the banning of the curriculum’s books. Afterwards, Diaz also introduced the defendants, former students in the Ethnic Studies program, (right) in the lawsuit against the State of Arizona.

Calling forward the eight year old boy (left center) who had been metal detected (, Diaz presented the boy with a book from his “madrina” Sandra Cisneros.

When asked why he wanted to learn about his culture, the boy responded, “It’s me and it’s what I want to be.” Former Ethnic Studies teacher Curtis Acosta (center) thanked the librotraficantes for their work, explaining that some of the teachers have had a chance to travel to different locations, speaking with people who supported them while the students could not experience the same love. Acosta said the librotraficantes helped bring the love to Tucson.

Attendee signs Tucson High School’s MECHA poster.

The underground library with the books banned by Tucson Unified School District. Librotraficantes hold up banned books for photographer (center) and documentarian (left).

Hanging with Elisa Meza (

University of Arizona Mexican American Studies Targeted Next

Tucson Citizen Breaks Bad News

 (Lalo Alcaraz)

Quoting a Fox News Latino article, the Tucson Citizen cites:

"An Arizona official who led the effort to suspend Mexican American studies from Tucson public schools is considering taking his fight to the state university system.

Arizona’s superintendent of schools, John Huppenthal, says Tucson’s suspended Mexican American studies curricula teaches students to resent Anglos, and that the university program that educated the public school teachers is to blame.

“I think that’s where this toxic thing starts from, the universities,” Arizona Superintendent of Schools John Huppenthal said in an interview with Fox News Latino.
via Arizona Official Considers Targeting Mexican American Studies in University | Fox News Latino.
The article goes on to say:
Huppenthal is not satisfied with the suspension of the Tucson program. He views the University of Arizona as another source of what he believes are biased educators."

Read the whole article: 

More from Lalo:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Great Article on Tucson Ethnic Studies

Written by UA Professor Dr. Cintli

From the article "Tucson’s Maiz-Based Curriculum: MAS-TUSD Profundo"

By: Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodríguez

"1. At a time of sky-high dropout rates nationwide, the Mexican American Studies (MAS-TUSD) K-12 program in Tucson Unified School District is a highly successful department that graduates nearly 95% of its students and sends more than 70% of them to college.1 MAS-TUSD students also score higher on state-mandated standardized tests in English, History and Math.2 By all rights, the nation’s premiere Mexican American Studies K-12 program should be exported nationwide; instead, it is embattled and on an inexplicable path to eventual extermination. The conflict over Tucson’s Mexican American Studies has been a six-year-long struggle, including several courtroom battles, and continues with no end in sight. Despite its phenomenal success, the MAS-TUSD curriculum has raised the ire of the state of Arizona because, according to the former State Schools’ Superintendent Tom Horne, the intellectual author of the anti-ethnic studies measure HB 2281, it purportedly teaches hate and separatism and advocates the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. The objective of this essay is thus to examine the MAS-TUSD curriculum, a curriculum that Horne as well as Governor Jan Brewer and current Superintendent John Huppenthal have actively disparaged for the past several years, and one that is generally unknown to the public because the media deals primarily in sound bites. As a result, few people other than TUSD educators are familiar with its contents beyond the caricature, an effect I hope to correct in this essay."

Read the rest of the article here:

Dr. Cintli's blog:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

El Librotraficante Viene

This Saturday in Tucson

What's all this about 'banned books in Tucson?'
Read the Huffington Post interview with Tucson High Lit teacher Curtis Acosta

From the interview:
"What is very clear is that The Tempest is problematic for our administrators due to the content of the play and the pedagogical choices I have made. In other words, Shakespeare wrote a play that is clearly about colonization of "the new world" and there are strong themes of race, colonization, oppression, class and power that permeate the play, along with themes of love and redemption. We study this work by Shakespeare using the work of renowned historian Ronald Takaki and the chapter "The Tempest in the Wilderness" from his a book A Different Mirror where he uses the play to explore the early English settlements on this continent and English imperialism. From there, we immerse ourselves in the play and discuss the beauty of the language, Shakespeare's multiple perspectives on colonization, and the brilliant and courageous attention he gives to such important issues."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Great Conference in Texas

NACCS Tejas Foco at Texas State University San Marcos
Program Schedule: link

I will post more later because of the great presentations and key note speakers I saw, including but not limited to author of Subtractive Schooling Angela Vallenzuela and author of Anglos and Mexicans David Montejano.

I presented on my Summer Predoctoral Fellowship there at San Marcos, and I also presented on a panel related to my dissertation with a poet named Issac, and picked up a copy of Huizache.

Pieces from Sherman Alexie, Sandra Cisneros and more.