"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rough Notes on Arizona


Rough Notes on Arizona
Rodolfo F. Acuña

In the now infamous Watergate scandal Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were told by deep throat that to "Follow The Money" in order to find those culpable for the Watergate break-in.      

In the 1990s Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado in No Mercy:how conservative think tanks and foundations changed America's social agenda  follow this advice and trace the role of family foundations in destroying bilingual education, in anti-affirmative action and eugenics scholarship. No Mercy is a fascinating account how right wing extremists and think tanks are funded by billionaire zealots who want to protect their tax privileges and power. 

The involvement of the Tea Party and neo-fascist organization has been well documented in the Republican Party's political takeover of Arizona as well as their war on Mexicans. These groups are bonded by a community interests with the prison industry and gun dealers and manufacturers.

Many articles have drawn direct ties between the Tea Party and Charles and David Koch who fund this eliminate the Mexican drive.  The strategy is to use race and lies to undermine school integration as well as programs that have improved the educational performance of not only Mexican American students but others in special classes.

A case in point is the Mexican American Studies program of the Tucson Unified School District that has had incredible results. Failed businessmen and politicos Tom Horne and John Huppenthan have ridden this anti-Mexican wave by sowing racism and outright lies. Horne and Hupenthal are the present and past Arizona superintendents of public instruction. Nowhere else but in Arizona would these two gentlemen have been elected to statewide office. In the case of Huppenthal, he has taken mendacity to new heights. He ordered a study of the Tucson program, squandered $170,000 on a study that contradicted his conclusions.  In order to be vindicated he is now holding hearings at the state capital; this time goes too far and shows his hand as well as who is pulling his strings. Using deep throats insight of "follow the money;" the connections appear clear.

One of his last expert witnesses is Susan Stotsky, a mathematics professor at the University of Arkansas, who has made a career as an expert on multicultural education of which she knows nothing about. She is heavily funded by right wing organizations and has served on various commissions under Republican presidents. Like my lawyer Moe Vasquez would say,  she has biases and is a paid gun, she’ll say anthing. Stotsky is part of that right conspiracy to kill multicultural studies. If these were not just hearings this case could be made in just following the money, who has funded her research? What are her qualifications? However, Huppenthal controls the hearings and has not allowed for this type of vetting.

What do we know about Stotsky? The thing that came leaping out that she in on the board of directors of the National Association of Scholars. Founded in 1987 the NAS  was spearheaded by Stephen Balch who believed that Western Civilization was under siege and he has to defend it. From the beginning the NAS attacked anything that advocates critical thinking. Among the funders are the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Olin Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, Koch brothers, and the Earhart, and Coors foundations. The Koch have become major players on the right since the mid-90s when it funded the Cato Institute.

Stotsky’s testimony will come as no surprise. Unlike the Cambium National Academic Educational Partners http://saveethnicstudies.org/assets/docs/state_audit/Cambium_Audit.pdf  she does not a commitment to the truth and objectivity but a bias and opinion that has been paid for. Only in Arizona could a person who knows nothing about Mexican American children, never taught them, and has a well-documented prejudice against Mexican American Studies testify as an expert witness. But it is a blind leading the blind scenario with Horne and Huppenthal serving as superintendents of public instruction and knowing nothing about education. In turn their bias is being affirmed by bought witness. Only in Arizona, or is it?

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