TUSD Board Member Michael Hicks Appears on Tucson Radio and Says Daily Show Misconstrued His Comments

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On Wednesday, Tucson Unified School District school board member Michael Hicks, who is facing a backlash for his appearance on The Daily Show this week and his views on the district's ban on Mexican American Studies, gave a radio interview to local Tucson radio. In the end, it was 10 minutes of fluff. Softball questions and easy answers.

Hicks said that he regretted making an appearance on The Daily Show, that the entire interview was 3.5 hours long, that he was "naive" about The Daily Show's intentions and that he wanted to help people in any way he could. He claimed that The Daily Show and some bloggers are destructive. He claims that his family is getting harassed, that he is getting phone calls at 4 in the morning, and said that the people are taking this too seriously.

In addition, Hicks said that he has nothing to apologize for his interview but he should apologize for what The Daily Show did to his interview. He said that The Daily Show blatantly "spliced" the show and said that people thought it was real and that he didn't say those things.

"Of course I know who Rosa Parks is," Hicks said. "It was an unfortunate thing, I am owning up to it." Hicks went on to say that the entire "Rosa Clark" piece was fabricated by The Daily Show. 

"I did not say the things in the sequence that [The Daily Show] is portraying." Hicks is standing by his word that The Daily Show misrepresented his comments."

"I am not going to allow bullies to bully me."

Hicks is currently facing a recall effort for his seat on the TUSD board.

The entire interview can be heard here: Michael Hicks interview with Jon Justice.


While TUSD and Michael Hicks Stay Silent, Reaction to Bizarre Daily Show Piece Gathering Steam

Looks like the reaction to The Daily Show appearance from Tucson Unified School District school board member Michael Hicks has started to take a life of its own, as several Arizona outlets have begun to cover the reaction to what was a bizarre and perplexing appearance by Hicks and his explanation as to why TUSD decided to ban the district's academically successful Mexican American Studies (MAS) program.

Fellow TUSD school board member Adelita Grijalva told local Tucson TV that Hicks' interview was irresponsible. She also said: "You know when you Google the Daily Show it says there, comedy show, not a real news show."

After the Rebels got Hicks to email us a statement to us around 12:15 EST, Hicks began to use that statement as his official response to the appearance. We did follow up twice with Hicks for follow-up questions, but he has not responded. The same goes for TUSD leadership, whose spokesperson issued a brief statement to us yesterday afternoon around 2:30 EST. We have left a phone message and an follow up email to Cara Rene, TUSD's Director of Communications and Media Relations, but as of this posting, we have received no reply.

We have also contacted Comedy Central's media office, looking for a comment, but have not heard back from them. Once we do, we will publish a response.

In the meantime, TUSD today decided to not renew the contract of Sean Arce, who is the co-founder of the MAS program. As reported by DA Morales out of Tucson:

However, early today Sean Arce, the sole remaining MAS domino that had yet to be toppled, received notice of non-renewal of his contract; ie. his job with TUSD is over at the end of this semester.

And that's it folks!

No more MAS to see here!

Public discussion on this matter may be available at next Tuesday’s meeting since there will be a call to the audience, but keep in mind that this is John Pedicone’s decision, and all he needs is the vote to approve his decision to fire Sean Arce, who was just awarded the Myles Horton Award from the Zinn Education Project.

TUSD Spokesperson: Hicks Acted as an Individual on @TheDailyShow, Not as a Board Member

In response to last night's The Daily Show segment, where Tucson Unified School District board member Michael Hicks offered some rather bizarre interpretations as to why TUSD decided to ban the academically successful Mexican American Studies program, a spokesperson for TUSD emailed a brief statement, when we requested comment from TUSD and its superintendent Dr. John Pedicone. The following is the email response we got from Cara Rene, TUSD's Director of Communication and Media Relations:

Michael Hicks is a publicly-elected official and was speaking as an individual. His comments do not represent the TUSD governing board or the school district.

If you want further comments, you will need to seek them from Mr. Hicks.

We followed up with a clarification to the email we received from Ms. Rene, reminding her that we did get a comment from Hicks, but that we would welcome additional comment from Dr. Pedicone or any other members of TUSD's governing board. As of this initial posting, we have not received any additional responses from either TUSD or Hicks.

As for the national TV appearance by Hicks, we have this question, which we posed to Rene: If Hicks were speaking as an "individual," why did the segment identify him as a school board member of TUSD? The fact remains: a publicly elected official entrusted to best serve the education of children in Tucson offered rather questionable explanations as to why the MAS program was being banned. According to the interview, Hicks based his vote on "hearsay" and seemed a bit troubled that TUSD teachers were tempting their students with free burritos. Finally, besides calling Rosa Parks "Rosa Clarke" on national TV, Hicks also freely admitted that the Arizona ethnic studies ban was passed only for the MAS program in Tucson. Other similar ethnics studies programs are still active.

School boards and school leaders are public servants of the community. We find it puzzling that in this case, because a comedy news show portrayed the district in a negative light, TUSD leaders choose not to comment nor offer additional explanations about an interview on national TV. Hicks, as the member of a publicly elected school board (see the screen shot above) presented bizarre and unfounded opinions about how a program that has helped Arizona students is being dismantled because of a few publicly elected officials don't agree with the program's vision and used the power of the Arizona legislature to create division in their own community.

We will welcome any official TUSD response at any time and we promise to publish it unedited, but right now, avoiding the issue only makes it worse, in our opinion.

TUSD School Board Member Hicks Responds on Facebook to @TheDailyShow Segment About Ethnic Studies

After a stunning and strange Daily Show interview with Al Madrigal, Tucson Unified School District school board member Michael Hicks reportedly responded via a Facebook post that was shared by Wenona Benally Baldenegro, who is running for Congress in Tucson. This is what Baldenegro posted on her personal Facebook page from a post that Hicks posted on his Facebook:


"As you know (and I know now) the Daily Show is a satirical news show and thus does not always represent the true remarks their guest make. 

I went on this show to talk about the Mexican American Studies (MAS) classes. What I believed to be would be a true interview ended up being nothing of the sort. It is unfortunate that the Daily show opted to amuse rather then inform."

We did reach out to Hicks this morning via email to request an interview.

Meet Michael Hicks: America’s Worst Elected School Board Member

Last night on The Daily Show, Al Madrigal did a segment on Tucson's ban of Mexican American Studies program. In the segment, TUSD school board member Michael Hicks shared his thoughts about education and the board's intent. We are still a bit shocked that someone like Hicks actually got elected.

In the interest of educating people about Hicks, we edited the interview to just show Hicks' portion, with a four-step plan as to how one can become America's worst school board member. We gave credit to The Daily Show, and Viacom can suck it for not letting us post this to YouTube because they are afraid of copyright (hey, we embed you guys all the time the right way and no one is selling this video, get over the fear, Viacom), but the following video had to be shared and it will be shared. Let's just focus on Hicks here. How can any sane and rational person think this man is good for the education of kids?

To watch our edited video, click here. Or just click on the photo image below and it will take you to the edited video. For a complete transcript, go here.

To watch our edited video, click here.

Last Night on @TheDailyShow: Tucson’s Ban on Mexican American Studies

Last night, The Daily Show's Al Madrigal went to Tucson to cover TUSD's Mexican American Studies ban.

Just two words: THANK YOU. Why would Michael Hicks even think that making a Daily Show appearance would be good for him? It wasn't. And now more of the country knows about what is going on in TUSD. (JUNE 21 UPDATE: FYI, the Daily Show no longer is showing the video, but you can catch it here.)