The State Board of Education today took a step toward ensuring that public school students learn the full story of our nation’s history and all of the people who have contributed to it.
The board decided not to create a special stand-alone course in Mexican-American Studies for Texas public schools, but board members did vote to ask publishers to submit instructional materials for locally developed courses in Mexican-American Studies, African-American Studies, Native American Studies, and Asian-American Studies next year. Schools could then use those instructional materials to teach ethnic studies courses under the Special Topics in Social Studies curriculum standards.
The board voted 11-3 in favor of this approach. Republicans David Bradley of
Beaumont Buna, Pat Hardy of Fort Worth and Geraldine “Tincy” Miller of Dallas voted against the proposal. The board must confirm today’s preliminary vote at its official meeting on Friday.
Schools have long used Special Topics in Social Studies curriculum standards to create local courses that are not part of the state curriculum. But they must design those courses and find instructional materials on their own, which many schools lack the time and resources to do. Under today’s agreement, schools that choose to teach one or more ethnic studies courses could have access to instructional materials that publishers and other vendors submit to the state. Moreover, the public will have the opportunity to examine any proposed instructional materials to ensure that they are accurate and substantive.
It’s disappointing, of course, that board members didn’t agree to the need for a specific Mexican-American and other ethnic studies course as a part of the state curriculum. But today’s vote does represent an important step forward.