Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cultural Studies Classes in Texas!


After witnessing the tragic fate of Mexican-American Studies in Arizona, I was relieved and thrilled this week when the Texas State Board of Education voted to spur the growth of ethnic/cultural studies classes statewide.  While they did not vote to mandate, create, and implement ethnic studies courses, the board members did call for publishers to submit learning materials to Texas school districts, and the districts can then implement them locally.

It's not perfect, but it's a huge step forward -- and it's wonderful that districts now have the explicit support of the Board of Education.  Hopefully, students will now have better access to courses on Mexican-American, African-American, Native American, and Asian-American Studies as electives.

As I've mentioned before, my youthful experiences with history focused pretty much -- with token exceptions -- on white European-American people and events, and, as you know, this trend continues today all over the country.  These courses will ideally allow any kid, regardless of ethnic background, the opportunity to learn about how people from different ethnicities and cultures contributed to our nation's history.  Because Mexican-American, African-American, Native American, and Asian-American history IS EVERYBODY'S HISTORY.

Unfortunately, some folks are upset about these developments, but I cling to the belief that time and constructive dialog will help ease the tensions.   

All in all, I'm excited to see what kinds of textbooks and materials the publishing companies submit to the Board of Education -- hoping for some great stuff!

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