First published on Schools Matter on October 16, 2014
"You give those brown kids some books about brown folks and what happens?
Those brown kids change the world." — Sherman Alexie
California might be poised to take Arizona's crown for having an unabashed white supremacist in the position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI). Arizona, which had back-to-back SSPI bigots in Tom Horne and John Huppenthal, apparently served as a longtime model for California based business-banker-cum-school-CEO Marshall Tuck. Horne and Huppenthal both lost their respective offices this year, but not before doing unconscionable damage to both Arizona schools, and the psyches of countless children of color.
"We all need to stomp out balkanization. No spanish radio stations, no spanish billboards, no spanish tv stations, no spanish newspapers. This is America, speak English."
Students Protesting Marshall Tuck's racist decision to kill Ethnic Studies. Photo by Robert D. Skeels.
Compare Huppenthal's hate speech to one of Tuck's many hostile acts against Spanish speakers when he was "CEO" of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS).
In the following year, we witnessed Spanish language signage on the campus disappear. Bilingual restrooms, parent center, nurses office signs were all replaced with English-only signs.
Marshall Tuck was equally responsible for removing the renowned Academic English Mastery Program (AEMP) at Ritter, a program with a nation-wide reputation for addressing the needs of Standard English Learners.
Tuck was able to accomplish in praxis the very things that Huppenthal was so keen to express in theory. In addition to these colonizers' battles against languages other than English, Tuck and his Arizona counterparts waged open war on any curricula that didn't celebrate "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy". In Arizona it was manifested as this:
In Los Angeles, it looks like this:
Tom Horne and John Huppenthal's racist HB 2281, which, among other things, banned Ethnic Studies in Arizona schools.
The initial decision was surreptitiously announced by one of Villaraigosa's education henchman, ex-Green Dot Schools Corporation flunky Marshall Tuck. Tuck has been PLAS' CEO since the privately managed organization began. Eliminating the only Ethnic Studies program at Santee High School is tantamount to cultural sterilization.
There are certain wealthy white actors that admire how Tuck eliminated Ethnic Studies Programs. Given the growing local community movements for Ethnic Studies as a K-12 graduation requirement, Dax Shepard and Tuck's troglodyte views against these important programs are fortunately in the waning minority.
Ultimately we must remember that the Tucks, Huppenthals, and Hornes of this neoliberal era are chosen by those ruling the corporate state for a reason, and that is that they reflect the ideology of those rulers. Dr. Rodolfo Acuña writes of one such racist (Michael Hicks), who can stand in for anyone mentioned in this essay:
"He mirrors those in power who have media consultants that filter their words. They are the biggest threat to traditions of free speech that made this country different."
The names behind neoliberal corporate education reform, specifically the Broad/Gates/Walton triumvirate, are the root cause of the disease. Tuck is just a symptom. We can only hope that Californian voters see through the fortunes and lies backing him, and send him on the same path as his fellow racists Horne and Huppenthal.