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Last act for Sanchez at TUSD?

Contract or no contract, TUSD superintendent H.T. Sanchez has less than a week to improve the information flow with the school board majority or he has no business staying. Newcomer Rachael Sedgwick remains steadfast in her determination to make a change at the top of Tucson's largest district.... Read more»

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6 comments on this story

1
2 comments
Feb 16, 2017, 8:34 pm
-1 +3

Respectfully, your characterization of Board member Sedgwick doesn’t seem to correspond with her actions since election.  She tried to use her position to publicly attack a local business.  She uses social media to claim people are late to meetings with her then later posts she was confused about the time of the meeting.  She uses “alternative facts: when talking about the accomplishments of the School District.  And she stands in lockstep so far with two Board members who have lobbied the Legislature to cut public education funding.  Her remarks aside, which as a person of Jewish heritage I do take offense to, her attempt to sneek in a firing of the top administrator and legal cousel during open enrollment endangers the amount of funding available to the District and directly harms the students she is charged with assisting.  As a role model she leaves much to be desired and as an elected official she uses her power to harm others and promote herself.  She may not be an open racist as one member of the Board is, but she seems to be an opportunist in stride with her other cohort.

2
75 comments
Feb 16, 2017, 11:31 pm
-1 +1

Good riddance H.T.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way back to Texas.

3
5 comments
Feb 17, 2017, 11:51 am
-0 +2

I get that, as you say, “schools and teaching must radically be remade to fit the new economy and modern world. We’re not industrial/agrarian anymore and that changes everything.” It’s true, as people have been saying since the beginning of the twentieth century. So are a lot of other criticisms of our education system from the left, right and center, all of which are valid in varying degrees. But the trick is in making change happen and making it successful. That is some trick indeed. We haven’t seen much of it in the U.S. in districts, charters of private schools. Either all the leaders in education are fools, and have been for the past 120 years, or it’s harder in practice than it is in theory.

I see Sedgwick has a reformist attitude. I don’t know her overall philosophy, but I know she wants to change things. However, if she’s going to assume a position of leadership where she wants to wreck it and fix it, she needs to have a vision for what the “fix” should be. If she thinks a new superintendent will do a better job than Sanchez, she should point to superintendents and school districts in multiracial urban centers with 40,000+ students that are actually making it happen. Otherwise, we have every reason to believe a new superintendent will be more of the same—at best slightly better, at worst considerably worse. That’s not a good enough reason to throw Sanchez out.

Tread cautiously with someone who seems to know it all in education. Sure she’s taught. So have I, for a hell of a lot longer than she has. Sure she knows something about educational theory, though I don’t know that it goes beyond the Education 101 level. So do I, through my extensive educational coursework and copious personal reading. So, for that matter, does H.T. Sanchez. A little educational knowledge combined with a little legal knowledge in the hands of someone with a large ego and substantial power, can be a dangerous thing. I hope Sedgwick knows what she’s doing. I fear she doesn’t.

4
1753 comments
Feb 17, 2017, 10:48 pm
-2 +0

If Sedgwick, or anyone else, wants to help out TUSD, firing Sanchez isn’t the answer. Breaking up TUSD into several smaller districts is the answer. It has grown far beyond its ability to manage itself. I see no reason in the world why it can’t or shouldn’t be broken up into several smaller districts.

5
5 comments
Feb 18, 2017, 11:24 am
-0 +2

So when the district is broken up, should we make it even more socioeconomically segregated than it is right now? It seems that’s what would most likely happen if we created smaller districts around high schools and the feeder elementary and middle schools. How about University High? Would that belong to one of the districts, and people from other districts would be able to apply if there is room?

6
3 comments
Feb 19, 2017, 10:58 am
-0 +0

Thanks for this article. Re: the “white supremacy” comment—there appear to be many in the local movements that favor this argument who have drunk the Sanchez Kool-Aid. Other than the political maneuvering of ex-Board majority members, I’d like to see how they think Dr. Sanchez has benefited either blacks or latinos. They all need to take a tour through Utterback, a de-funded magnet school where parents have been begging the district for help all year. They also need to talk to interpreters who have been told to NOT translate into Spanish when the Superintendent is speaking, leading to a parents’ complaints going unheard in a meeting. But those are just surface issues. They need to track where the money for the desegregation of the school district goes (no easy task, and the VERY FIRST THING I would put on an Improvement Plan) and doesn’t go. That is, unless they disagree with the value desegregation,as Sanchez does, in which case they all live pre-1940s anyway.
Finally, why does everyone assume that Sanchez will be terminated WITHOUT cause? Isn’t it possible that many of his machinations actually do break his contract? Very few people in the media or on the Facebook conversations seem to consider this. But almost 200,000 votes went to candidates who spoke openly about a commitment to serious change in the District. I think THOSE voters thought there was ample cause to at least review the actual actions of district management, starting with the Superintendent himself. If the District could count on all or even a part of those voters (less than 200,000 because of having 3 votes) putting their kids into TUSD, there would be no enrollment problem. After an amen choir, it is time for the Board to do its job, and the first order should be reviewing the work of the Superintendent.

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Ryan Revock/TucsonSentinel.com

Sanchez, then the sole finalist for the TUSD post, makes his pitch to be appointed superintendent of Tucson's largest district in June 2013.

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