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Thursday, February 16, 2012

UPDATE: CROUCHING WHILE MEXICAN: TUSD escalates militarization of its meetings

A high school student who addressed the school board this Tues about the TUSD-MAS controversy was reportedly pulled out of his classroom yesterday by security personnel. There is more to the story (and this will be updated soon), but to be sure, him being pulled out of his classroom was a direct result of his participation at the school board meeting.

At the same meeting, the issue of armed guards at TUSD school board meeting was brought up. School board member Adelita Grijalva requested an inquiry into how many armed guards are being deployed at each meeting , at what cost, and how long this will last? There may have been 30 audience members at the meeting Tuesday, along with perhaps 20 TUSD officials, employees and school board members. On Tuesday, 9 armed security personnel were visibly present at the meeting. At the recent White House Summit in Tucson, (which was at least 10 times bigger) with many White House administration officials present, there may have been 6 visible officers present.

However, the real travesty has to do with security coming into a classroom for the student during class time.


Board member Adelita Grijalva has confirmed that 2 TUSD security officers went into the student's classroom at Tucson High School as a direct result of the "crouching incident" at Tuesday's board meeting.

Initially, the student gave a firm critique of the TUSD Governing Board board and the superintendent for dismantling the district's Mexican American Studies Department. One by one, he criticized their conduct, including, not paying attention to speakers during call to the audience.

After the critique, he went back to his aisle chair.At a certain point he decided not to sit, but instead chose to crouch in the aisle next to his chair. For this the security officers in the board room took an alert position. One approached. He told the student to sit. The student asked why at which point the officer said it was against district policy for anyone to crouch in the aisle. The student asked to see the regulation.

On Thursday, that same TUSD officer, along with another TUSD security officer, went into the student's classroom and removed him from class. Apparently, the administration complied and directed the officers to his classroom.

Grijalva said it was mind-boggling that the Tucson High administration complied, but even more so for the officers to have been there in the first place. The officers purportedly went to show the regulation to the student during class time.

The unresolved question is who authorized and directed these two officers to go into Tucson High and pull the student out of class.



They first came after the department, the discipline, then the books... and now the students? Amazing the lack of outrage. Perhaps what's needed is a few thousand petitions to explain to this district that it is not acceptable to ban departments, thrash disciplines, ban books and now go into classrooms to yank out students... for the SERIOUS FELONY OF CROUCHING WHILE MEXICAN...

Arizona: 'Partisan doctrine' in classes targeted

Arizona Daily Star

Ariz. bill advances; teachers would be fired quickly, districts penalized
'Partisan doctrine' in classes targeted

Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services | Posted: Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:00 am

PHOENIX - Teachers who promote "partisan doctrine" in the classroom would be automatically fired, and districts that allow it would lose state funding, under a proposed law approved Wednesday by a Senate panel.

For full story, go to:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

From Ground Zero: In Lak Ech and A Love Message to the World

In lak' Ech

Tú eres mi otro yo.
Si te hago daño a ti
Me hago daño a mí mismo.
Sí te amo y respeto,
Me amo y respeto yo.
You are my other me.
If I do harm to you,
I do harm to myself.
If I love and respect you,
I love and respect myself.
Raza Studies-TUSD

* In Lak' Ech is Beyond Human Relations.
It is also about relations with all life,
and our relation to the earth and universe.

If we poison the earth, we poison ourselves.
If we pollute the waters, we pollute our bodies.
If we contaminate the earth; we contaminate our food and life itself.

If we take care of the earth; the earth will take care of us.
If we love the earth; we love ourselves.
If we respect the earth; we live.

If we love ourselves, we will take care of ourselves.
If we love humanity, we will not hate.
If we protect our sacred mother, we live.
If we understand our role in the universe, we create.

* The beauty of In Lak' Ech is that it is not taught by itself.
It's companion ethos is Panche Be

Panche Be
To seek the root of the truth – buscar la raiz de la verdad.
(Martinez Paredez 1970). To find the truth in the root(s)

Panche Be – a pursuit and a lifelong journey.

Panche Be – a way of life.

Never satisfied with official truths, official histories or official narratives.

Never complacent.

Always in relentless pursuit of that which is hidden or obfuscated.

Always in pursuit of peace and dignity… and justice.

* In academic parlance, this translates to both critical thinking and social justice.

Panche Be
is inextricably linked with the pursuit of truth, equality and justice.

It is to speak out against racial supremacy, against apartheid, the dehumanization of migrants, the criminalization of youths and against the relegation of women to permanent subservience.

It is youths and a community running from Tucson-Phoenix in 115-degree heat in 2009 to fight against the state’s attempt to eliminate Raza Studies.

It is more than 150,000 protesting racial profiling in Arizona in 2010. It is youths taking over the TUSD school board on April 26 2011. It is a community not backing off with more than 100 riot-equipped officers at the May 3, 2011 school board meeting; It is seven women getting arrested for daring to speak at the very same meeting. And it is young Chicana students with fists in air and shirts reading: You can silence our voices, but never our spirits.

It is the same message of 2006.

In Lak Ech and Panche Be.

It is the story of the battle over Mexican American Studies
It is a defense, not simply of a department
or even a discipline, but of a worldview.

Thanx to the world for supporting this courageous battle.


Dr. Cintli
Tlamanalca (Tucson), Abya Yalla
Feb 14, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012


Over the past few weeks, many friends/colleagues from around the country have asked how they can help regarding the MAS-TUSD situation. At the moment, I can think of two ways. Supporting education and concietizacion in Arizona, and 2) Supporting UNIDOS youth organizers, who also work with both Social Justice Education Project and MEChA students.

Each semester, I teach several classes that speak to the crisis that we live here in Arizona. As part of my classes at the University of Arizona (The History of the Chicano Movement and Indigenous Thinkers/Indigenous Philosophers: Abya Yalla 2012) we invite speakers from throughout the country to help make sense of what is happening around us. The speakers that come in are able to speak, not just to my classes, but to the university as a whole and to the entire community.

El Coraje, Fall semester

In some cases, my students elect to document the historic events in our midst. As such, they are again doing so through El Coraje, a publication from the 1960s that was revived by my students two years ago. This will be the 4th issue since its revival. To download copy of previous issue, go to:

El Coraje 2010

This semester, the suspension of the Mexican American Studies Department-TUSD is first and foremost on everyone’s mind, but so too are the equally important immigration issues that we experience in the harsh dessert we live in. On top of that, one of the classes is examining not the Hollywood version, but rather, the reality of, and the human rights struggles of, Indigenous peoples, in the Year 2012.

Please consider sending in a donation. The reason for this appeal, is that there is still a budget crisis at the UA, and everyone in Tucson is already tapped out. By donating, you will help to contribute to the education of UA students and the community at large. Thanks in advance. Please see instructions below.


We are accepting gifts from $50 to $100 or more, or whatever amount you wish.
The estimated budget that needs to be raised for the special projects for this
class, which includes a special issue of El Coraje, is $2,500. We hope to reach
that through generous contributions like yours. The donation is tax-deductible.
Send electronically or by check via mail.

ELECTRONICALLY: To make your contribution with a credit card (Visa, Mastercard,
American Express, Discover), please follow these directions:

1) Click on the link below

This will take you to the SBS, UA Foundation Website. It is a secured site.

2) Please fill out your billing and payment information. This is needed to
properly send you a receipt for tax purposes. Fill out the additional security
code, and click on the "Donate Now" button at the bottom of the page.

3) Lastly, for our accounting records and to make sure your contribution reaches
our Department, please email Veronica Peralta at with
your name, address, and amount given. No other information is needed.


Make check payable to: The University of Arizona Foundation. In the memo line,
write: MAS R. Rodriguez Events. Please mail it to:

Mexican American Studies: Attn: Veronica Peralta, Cesar Chavez, Room 208. PO BOX 210023, Tucson AZ 85721-0023. If questions re donations: VPERALTA@EMAIL.ARIZONA.EDU or call 520-626-8139.

Thanks in advance and if you have comments or questions, feel free to contact me.

Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

2) UNIDOS is one of the primary organizers of youth in Tucson. At the moment, they are setting up a paypal account, so as to be able to continue their organizing efforts. You may remember UNIDOS this past year as they dramatically took over the school board (April 26, 2011) and then continued the defense of Mexican American Studies in a highly charged school board meeting (May 3), this amid perhaps 200 law enforcement officers of every stripe, including bomb squad, riot squad, a helicopter and special tactical units that surrounded both the building and neighborhood. You can watch this at:

April 26th:

May 3rd:

When they set-up their account, it will be forwarded. They are collecting funds in part to find their own organizing space. They are also available for speaking nationwide. In the meantime, you can contact them at: 520-449-4728 - - -

Those who are interested in supporting one of the legal efforts in fighting back HB 2281, please go to: There are actually other ways to help and other organizing groups that also need assistance. As the info becomes available, it will be provided.

Again, thanx

Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

Cintli don't tweet, text, facebook and is not linked... no TV either... but you can still email or call me.

"TUSD board member Hicks now stoops to slander"

Beyond what people outside of Tucson have heard about the MAS situation, there is also another story brewing related to TUSD Superintendent Pedicone and TUSD school board member, Michale Hicks. Both have begun to broaden their "concerns" to include UA Faculty. More on this in future, but at the moment read this opinion piece by long-time Tucson activist, Salomon Baldenegro. And read the comments to get an idea of the environment we are living here in Tucson/Arizona.

Salomón Baldenegro Special To The Arizona Daily Star
Posted: Thursday, February 9, 2012

For comments, go to:

Mexican American Studies opponents traffic in lies and, now, even slander. On Feb. 2, Tucson Unified School District board member Michael Hicks - in his capacity as a member of the board - was on the Garrett Lewis A.M. show (KNST 97.1).

On that program, Hicks compared the University of Arizona MAS faculty who participated in a recent "teach in" involving TUSD students at the UA to the notorious alleged occurrences of child rape at Penn State. Here's what Hicks said:

"While there (at the UA), the director of the Mexican American Studies program indicated that these children were going into their classrooms, with their adult, you know, college students, behind closed doors, and no one was allowed to go into the classes, to either get taught or educated or to be … I don't know. For me, I'm like, you know what? Penn State? You know, what's going on behind closed doors with our children?"

Hicks on the left.

Due to copyright issues, go to the Arizona Daily Star for the story:

If you would like to hear the entire Hicks interview, go to:

* Regarding the death threats, the trial for the person issuing the death threats against me is scheduled for April 10.

Friday, February 3, 2012

And still More Banned Authors (Cantos Al Sexto Sol, Wings Press 2002)

In Tucson, there is no one left to ban!

This book appears in the Cambium Report, confirmed by dir. Sean Arce, that it is one of the books that is part of the banned MAS curriculum. This is a cultural treasure, the product of a generation of writers, multi-generational actually... and multiracial and multicultural... More than 100 writers are included. That the MAS-TUSD curriculumm has been outlawed, banished and that the books are being "stored" in the TUSD school depository means that these writers/authors have also been banished... whether it's called censorship or cultural genocide... our community is not backing down...

This book was originally edited by a cultural warrior named Cecilio-Garcia Camarillo 1943-2002 -- part of the original Floricanto - In Xochitl - In Cuicatl - Flower and Song generation. Descansa en Paz - Rest in Peace.

Here is the table of contents (Welcome to the banned authors list... don't think there's anyone left to ban):


A.J., a.k.a. Dreamcatcher, Dream Catchers, Sage and
Medicine Wheels frontis
Roberto Rodríguez, Opening Prayer (in Nahuatl) xii
Roberto Rodríguez & Patrisia Gonzales: Preface xiii

Para Xilo

Delilah Montoya, Photograph xv
Delilah Montoya, Photograph xvi
Juan Felipe Herrera, Poema para Cecilio xvii
Carmen Tafolla, Semillas xix
Carmen Tafolla, Semillas (poem) xxiv
Reyes Cardenas, Para Cecilio xxvi
Reyes Cardenas, Transcendental Cumbia xvii
Itzolin Garcia, For Cecilio xxviii
Cecilio García-Camarillo, Vamanos . . . xxix

Arturo Lazcano, Aztlanahuac (drawing) xxxv

Introduction, by Roberto Rodríguez xxxvi
Roberto Rodríguez, from Mystery Forgotten l

Comienzos / Migrations

1847 Disturnell map 2-3
1768 Alzate y Ramírez map 4-5
Quetzalcoatl, A Prophecy of Peace 6
Jim Covarubias, Forward to Migrations in Ancient America 7
Jim Covarubias, Uto-Azteca (illustration) 9
Enriqueta Longeaux Vasquez, Chicana Aztlaneca (with trans.) 17
Juanita Jaramillo Lavadie, Toyita’s Vallero Blankets 20
Ethriam Cash Brammer, From the Seven Caves 22
Juan Jose Peña, La raza cósmica 24
Jaime Chavez, Nacimiento 26
Manuel Gomez, China 28
Dorinda Moreno, Ixchel: Goddess of Cozumel 29
diego davalos, reclaiming our spaces 33
Richard de Leon, Vamos para el viejo 34
Leticia Hernández Linares, Odisea 36
Isaac Saldaña, The People of the Snowy Egret 42
Inés Hernández-Avila, Mi Entrega / Mi Manifiesto 45
Olivia Chumacero, Pequeña Ofrenda para Mi Hija 47
Felipe Galindo Feggo, The Manhatitlan Chronicles 48
Felipe Galindo Feggo, The Manhatitlan Chronicles (illustration) 49
Joe Galarza, Quezallicoyotl (illustration) 50

Ancient Memory

Nora Chapa Mendoza, Reclaiming Our Spaces (illustration) 52
Micki Baldwin, Ancient Mexico and Native American Spirituality 52
Nancy Ovalle, Mining La Vida: Un Sueño 66
Sara E. Benitez, I Hear Aztlan Calling 69
Silvia de la Fuente Mendoza, The Color of My Roots 70
Chris Abeyta, Llorando al indio dentro de mi 71
Jacquie Moody, Return 72
Bobby González, A Warrior's Heart 76
Bob Haozous, sculpture (photograph) 77
Angela Villareal Ratliff, Silenced Storytellers 78
Susana Sandoval, Hija del Quinto Sol 79
Reyna Matiz, Desert Daughter, Listen 81
José Montalvo, Welcome to My New World 83
María García Tabor, The Sea of Cortez 91
Michele Lopez-Stafford Levy, Something Racial about Washing Beans 92
Nephtalí De León, La Virgen De Guadaliberty (illustration) 94
Nephtalí De León, Introduction to Aztlan Reclaimed 95
Nephtalí De León, Canto Chicano for a New Millennium 96
Ricardo Sánchez, A donde llegaste 100
José Montoya, Like Before The War 106
Renee Fresquez, Native Pride 108
Abril Andrea Zapata García, Me Llamo Zapata 109
Patricia Portales, Forgetting How to Say Chanclas in English 110
Kat Avila, World Without Borders 113
Kat Avila, Open-Mindedness: A Warrior's Chant 115
Xavier Garza, The Mexican Crabs Myth 117
Trinidad V. Sánchez, A Mi Patria 122
Trinidad Sánchez, Jr., Crossing Rivers 123
Antonia Darder, ’Rican Woman 124
Marisol Lydia Torres, Mi Abuelita 128
Cris Franco, The Cultural Climate 130


Antonia Darder, Keep America Clean (illustration) 134
Rosemary Catacalos, Nuestro Dolor 135
Reymundo Tigre-Pérez, Metamorphosis 136
Xilo Garcia, Santa Fe 138
Angela de Hoyos, Viva el mestizaje 142
Brigid A. Milligan, Soy la pequeña 144
Joe Olvera, Tonantzin 146
Carlos Cumpian, Cuento 148
Carlos Koyokukatl Cortez, Poema por el Día de la Raza 150
Phil Goldvarg, Tortillas Voladoras 154
Octavio de la Rosas, Adios a la Migdalia 156
Valerina Quintana, Chicana Code Switcher 158
Helen Rael, Of Eyes Brown 159
Donna Snyder, Coyote 162
Erika González, In the Darkness of a Moonless World 164
Tupac Enrique Acosta, Tezcatlalli 166
Milo Alvarez, The Revolution Has Begun 168
Shelia Sánchez-Hatch, a dream of bees 171
Rodney Garza, Mexed Up Mexed-Up Mestizo Mixican 172
Tammy Gómez, Home Away From Home 177
eddie raúl navarrete, n aztlan 180
Sylvia Ledesma, Aztlan 182
ChUZMA, The Wizard of Aztlan: The Return of Quetzalcoatl 183

Habla Mi Espiritu

Codex Tolteca-Chichimeca (illustration) 196
José Flores Peregrino, El Árbol de la Vida 197
Michael Heralda, A Man who Works the Land 198
Diana Montejano, Una oración en la tempestad 201
Suzan Shown Harjo, Songs Who Sing 202
José Antonio Burciaga, El Credo de Aztlan 204
Carmen Tafolla, The Storykeeper 206
Iréne Lara Silva, corazónaztlan 210
Rudolfo Anaya, In this Earth 212
Demetria Martinez, Blessing Poem 214
Jim Sagel, madrugada nuevomexicana 215
Victoria García-Zapata Klein, Encarnación 218
Mariposa, Ode to the DiaspoRican 221
Juan Felipe Herrera, Taking a Bath in Aztlan 223
Marcos Pizarro, Somos Aztlan 225
Andrea Serrano García, I belong Anywhere I want to Belong 228
Andrea Serrano García, Nepantla 230
Luis Rodríguez, My Name's Not Rodriguez 232
Naomi Helena Quiñonez, La Diosa in Every Woman 234
Tony E.A. Mares, Return Home 238
Guillermo Gomez Peña, The Self-Deportation Project 239
R. Rodríguez, Untitled photograph 242

Eugenio Castro, Cyber Vato (Photograph) 244
Guillermo Gomez Peña, Freefalling toward a Borderless Future 245
Tatiana de la Tierra, From the Republic of Generation Ñ 247
M.E. Wakamatsu, Rita Hayworth Mexicana 251
Alice Aguilar, From a Boxer and a General 254
Esmeralda Bernal, pardon me, my sisters, there are fronteras 257
Martín Espada, Heart of Hunger 258
Jessica Jaramillo, Sounds of El Norte 260
Yolanda Chávez Leyva: El Regresso 263
Violeta Ramirez, Dead Taco 266
Melissa Lozano, My Freedom Song: Wire Skin 268
Elisa Miranda, Soil of Padres 269
Ramon Del Castillo, My Journey to Michoacan 271
Ramon Del Castillo, Flowers From the Same Garden 274
Lalo Delgado, No Tengo Papeles 276
Josie Méndez-Negrete, Mojada! Mojada! Mojada! 280
Shirley Hill Witt, Contemplating Borders 287
Gilberto Chavez Ballejos and Shirley Hill Witt, an excerpt from
El Indio Jesús 290
Elaine Romero, Curanderas: Serpents of the Clouds 301
Leilani Michelle Finau, Go Back and Wake Up 321

Post Script
The Alurista Interview 329
The Aztlanahuac Project 333

Contributor Notes 335

Abelardo Lalo Delgado, Carnal (Closing Poem) 349

(click three images/pages below to enlarge)

* When the public realizes that it wasn't simply books or a curriculum that was banned, people will realize that it is a full-fledged cultural "auto de fe"... and a modern "reduccion," a brazen attempt, by a backward state and an apartheid school board, at cultural genocide. Couple this with SB 1070 and all its clones, and it becomes evident that indeed, this is a war against the body, mind and spirit of peoples who have been here forever.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


TUSD flagrantly violates Constitution and International Human Rights Treaties

By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez, PhD

"Instead of seeing Hispanics as outsiders who do not belong here, we need to start seeing them as ancestors of the original inhabitants of these lands. They are the living fulfillment of the Ghost Dance prophecy." - Chief Billy Redwing Tayac, Piscataway Nation

The above quote best contextualizes the battle in Tucson. Mexican American Studies, also known as Chicano/a Studies or Raza Studies, in effect, is the study of peoples who trace their lineage to this very continent, many thousands of years before the arrival of Columbus. There is no doubt that these peoples have mixture (like virtually every human being on this planet), however, the fact remains that their roots are Indigenous and part of daily, living maiz-based cultures. A primary objective of MAS has always been the recovery of those cultural roots that in the past have been denied. In Tucson, the teaching of these studies, of these roots have not just been outlawed, but, in effect, criminalized.

While TUSD continues to be under court orders to desegregate, and while the state is being sued (Acosta) in federal court over the 2010 anti-ethnic studies HB 2281 bill, both TUSD and the state are seemingly unaware that in passing and complying with HB 2281, they are in clear violation of at least 9 international treaties and conventions. These include the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights and the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, all of which protect the right to culture, history, identity, language and education.

Below is a document containing 9 directives that is mind-boggling in its brazenness, one that reveals the manner in which the law is being flouted and how teachers and students are being subjected to abuse and repercussions.

In close to 40 years of journalism and column writing, I have never seen anything quite like it. Initially, I picked this document up from one source, then several. It is undeniably authentic. This document was issued in mid-January by TUSD officials, given to MAS educators, instructing them as to what they can and can't teach and how, etc. The first thing I noted was that it was not on TUSD stationary. This is referred to as: "plausible denial." It intentionally leaves no fingerprints. To be sure, there have been other [verbal] directives regarding these same issues.

The context behind this document is that the MAS Department has been dismantled, the discipline thrashed and the curriculum banned (along with books, videos art, posters and other teaching materials). On top of this, the teachers and students have been demonized, and slandered. All this is due to HB 2281 – which as a community, we will never recognize as a law. The TUSD governing board, under the direction of the TUSD superintendent, rather than fight the unconstitutional HB 2281, buckled and ordered its suspension, and with it, ordered all MAS teaching materials out of the classrooms.

This issue is even more insidious than appears on paper. It is the result of a ferocious war against MAS and it is not an exaggeration to say that this is part of a 520-year battle. Or as former state schools' superintendent, Tom Horne, the author of the anti-Ethnic Studies bill refers to it, a civilizational war. His primary objection has always been that the MAS curriculum does not derive from Greco-Roman thought, and thus, un-American. He is right on the first count; the philosophical foundation of MAS is derived from the concepts of In Lak Ech (You are other my self) and Panche Be (To seek the root of the truth). The concepts are derived from a maiz- based philosophy, undeniably Indigenous to this continent, in origin./

It is precisely because of Horne's language that it is wrong to refer to his or his successor's actions (John Huppenthal), as McCarthy-esque or Nazi-esque. Instead, Horne provides the correct model… precisely stemming from the era of the Inquisition… it is a virtual "auto de fe" (a 1500's era religious edict authorizing the destruction of native culture, including books, etc)… It is also part of the 300-year program referred to as a "reduccion" in which the objective was to stamp out all things Indigenous. Below is the document and the dissection of each directive:

Guiding Principles for MAS Teachers

"Assignments cannot direct students to apply MAS perspectives."

The obvious problem here is that there is no consensus as to what constitutes a "Mexican American Studies" perspective, though it is clear that this is an attempt to eliminate the perspectives of a people. This directive alone appears to violate every international human rights treaty.

TUSD and the state have created a task for themselves; to enforce this directive, they will have to create a definition as to what constitutes a Mexican American [Studies] perspective. They then have to establish parameters of what can and cannot be taught and then they have to create an enforcement mechanism. Actually, this document appears to be the beginning of this process. One teacher, Norma Gonzalez, was specifically told after the TUSD vote, that she cannot teach the Aztec Calendar or anything related to Mexican culture and history. Ironically, the Aztec Calendar and its related philosophies, can and is being taught in a native class, but not through MAS. Here, TUSD is showing evidence that it is also involved in defining the boundaries of what is Mexican vs. what is native. A quote in The Progressive, from banned author Sherman Alexie is appropriate here: "Let's get one thing out of the way: Mexican immigration is an oxymoron. Mexicans are indigenous." One of his books, "The Lone Ranger and Tonto's Fist Fight in Heaven," is part of the MAS banned curriculum.

"The teachers cannot use the MAS curriculum designed individually or by MAS staff in TUSD."

Here, both the highly successful curriculum, which graduated nearly 100% of its students and validated by the 2010 independent Cambium Study, appears to have been invalidated by TUSD. Additionally, the teachers and staff have been determined to be incompetent. In the process, they have also been publicly vilified and demonized.

"The focus of student learning must not exclusively trail back to MAS curriculum and issues."

This is mind-boggling; no teacher teaches in such a manner. Beyond thought control, it appears to be an attempt to culturally restrict the parameters of Mexican American thinking – an attempt to by edict, to determine what Mexican Americans should be concerned with. An examination of the MAS curriculum will reveal that virtually every issue in the nation and world is an "MAS issue."

"Teachers should balance the use of literature focusing on multiple perspectives and varied literature."

Here is an example of a directive in search of a problem. The MAS- TUSD Department is the epitome of a program that offered multiple perspectives. Witness the banned-books reading list, with authors from every culture represented. But also unstated is the notion that all perspectives are equal, even when it comes to issues such as land theft, etc. Utilizing such logic, would teachers have to provide arguments in favor of slavery, genocide and land theft and in favor of segregation and discrimination?

"Race can be taught and discussed. However, context is important and the focus should be on using literature content as the teaching focus relative to race or oppression."

This is both oxymoronic and nonsensical. This smacks of "false generosity" – of giving teachers permission the right to teach about one of the most salient aspects of U.S. history. Regarding context, that at best is condescending; unlike letters to the editor, every teacher provides context.

"Visitations in class by an administrator will be frequent to insure compliance. (At least one visit per unit of lessons)."

Not sure that this merits an explanation. What's next… cameras in the classroom? And to be truthful, this was already proposed by Tom Horne two years ago.

"Teachers will write and submit a syllabus and/or a curriculum map that demonstrates adherence to common, standards based approach to the curriculum."

Perhaps this is the least controversial, though this still smacks of micromanagement.

"Student work will be collected by the evaluator when he/she comes into the classroom."

This is the epitome of Big Brother in the classroom. That teachers and students are being closely monitored should raise two huge red flags. That teachers can be disciplined or fired depending on the thoughts/perspectives of their students should send a chill up everyone's spine.

"Teachers can choose to submit student work that would serve as evidence that curriculum is adhered to." See the above response, which in effect also encourages self-censorship.

These directives are on paper. They are actually even more onerous in the schools. The teachers of MAS-TUSD are my colleagues. I have been collaborating with them even before since the inception of the department in 1998, via shared curriculum. Without betraying privacy, I can reveal that "repression" (can I use that word?) in the classroom is not an exaggeration, nor is it hyperbole. I have spoken (I continually do so) to the teachers and have asked them about the environment they are now teaching in. In tears, they have relayed how they are being monitored and restricted. Aside from what has already been relayed here, several have told me in tears about their computers being wiped clean, which included many years of my columns. They have told me about artwork and posters being removed and about TUSD officials coming into their classrooms during class to remove teaching materials. One told me that the books that were ordered boxed were labeled "banned books" by school officials. Yet, through all this, TUSD claims there are no banned books.

I teach their former students at the University of Arizona. They are unquestionably my brightest students. For years I have spoken in their classrooms and we present together at conferences, at forums… and we even run together. So for me, this is personal and hits close to home. Unfortunately, this is not the end of this story. The one good news to report is that when students from Wakefield Middle School were suspended (along with one Pueblo High School student), they attended my classes at the University: The History of the Chicano Movement and Indigenous Thinkers/Indigenous Philosophers. They also held a teach-in that day. At the end of my second class, they were informed that their suspensions had been lifted. The MAS department, however, remains suspended and many of the books are being held hostage in the district's school depository building. "The knowledge," however, as the students say, "cannot be padlocked."

* Five of my books and a video are on the banned curriculum list. The video is: Amoxtli San Ce Tojuan. The books are: Justice: A Question of Race; Gonzales/Rodriguez: Uncut and Uncensored; The X in La Raza, Codex Tamuanchan: On Becoming Human… and Cantos Al Sexto Sol… this last book is a collection of more than 100 Raza/Indigenous writers, writing on the topic of origins and migrations, … In effect, virtually the entire cultural production of the past generation of Raza/Indigenous writers/artists has been criminalized.

** You can see the actual document, and the list of many of the banned books at:

Rodriguez can be reached at: or 520-626-0824

Cintli don't tweet, text, facebook and is not linked... neither do I own a TV... but you can still email or call me.