Approval of African American Studies Course Is a Big Step Forward for Texas

African American Studies Joins Mexican American Studies as Elective Courses for the State’s Public Schools

April 17, 2020

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller today celebrated the State Board of Education’s final approval of a new elective course in African American Studies for Texas public schools:

“Today’s vote is a big step toward ensuring that Texas students learn more about the contributions and experiences of African Americans in our nation’s history. Ethnic studies courses are good for all students, not just students of color. They dispel myths, correct misinformation and bridge divisions, helping students from all backgrounds build connections with each other and the past. But these important elective courses aren’t a substitute for inclusive core courses, from history to language arts, that all students take. The state board must make sure that future revisions of curriculum standards for those core courses do a better job addressing the contributions and experiences of all people of color in our nation’s history and rich cultural mosaic.”

Today’s vote ended a formal approval process for African American Studies that began less than a year ago. The board adopted a Mexican American Studies course in 2018, four years after scholars and other advocates first asked the board to act. In finally voting for the Mexican American Studies course in 2018, the board opened the door to the creation of other ethnic studies classes that districts could choose to offer as elective courses for high school students.


Texas Freedom Network is a grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support equality, social justice and public education.