SBOE Allows 'Mexican American Studies' Course in Texas Schools

General Election - Education

After several refusals and four years of debate, the Texas State Board of Education has finally agreed to allow a course on 'Mexican-American Studies' to be taught in Texas high schools---just as long as they don't call it 'Mexican American Studies,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"Ethnic studies, an overview of Americans of Mexican Descent," was the new name proposed by SBOE member David Bradley. "I don't subscribe to hyphenated Americanism."

One SBOE member voted against the course, and that was because he opposes the new name.  A final vote will be taken on Friday.

The board heard emotional testimony from students like Yveette Imanez of UTSA, who urged the SBOE to approve the program, and to make sure it is included on the TEKS test.

"This course revealed to me that I am not 'the other'," she said. "That my people are the reason for our nation's progress and we, like most immigrants, are an asset to this country's success and well-being.  I am no longer ashamed of where I came from."

The Texas SBOE has long been an example of the way Republicans seized control of state government in the 1990s.  While Democrats were focused on the 'shiny object' of the governor and the Senate races, the GOP doubled down on running conservative candidates for lesser known state boards like the SBOE, which actually have more influence on the daily lives of Texans than the governor does.

For years, the Texas SBOE was considered the most conservative state education regulatory board in the country, and frequently held high profile debates over curriculum, school textbooks, and excluding conservative 'hot button' issues like LGBT lifestyles, minority studies, and abortion from school courses.

Even though Mexican-American studies was not prohibited in Texas high schools, individual schools could offer the course as a social studies elective. But there were no approved textbooks, and since the topic was not included on the TEKS test, Mexican-American studies courses were frequently muscled out with other courses that did appear on standardized tests.

Photo: Getty Images

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