Diane Douglas, Arizona's new Superintendent of Public Instruction, met with Tucson Unified School District Superintendent H.T. Sanchez on Wednesday to talk about the future of the district in light of the
notice of noncompliance
the district received late last week.
Douglas says she supports the Department of Education's finding that the TUSD is currently in violation of A.R.S. §15-112, a state statute that gives schools parameters for teaching ethnic studies.
“It is important to correct the misunderstanding that Arizona Department of Education is opposed to ethnic studies," Douglas said in a press release. “If any child educated in Arizona is not exposed to the suffering, trials and triumphs of all ethnic groups who have contributed to our state’s rich cultural mix, then we are failing to teach accurate history.”
The release went on to say that while Arizona Department of Education is satisfied with the curricula for ethnic studies developed by TUSD, they have documentation showing the curricula have not been properly implemented in the classroom. These deviations from the curricula are what the department says violate the state law—although it did not say what the deviations are.
Coming out of their meeting, Douglas and Sanchez agreed to a plan of action to ensure that the curricula are taught correctly and in accordance with statute in the individual classrooms.
“I am pleased with the new opportunity to work together with Superintendent Douglas to resolve this issue. I was excited to be invited to work on a Latino Advisory Committee to suggest standards and curricula to include Latino history for all children in Arizona,” Sanchez was quoted as saying in Douglas' press release. “The offer to work hand-in-hand to make specific changes in classroom instruction to encourage critical thinking is certainly something I can support.”