The State Board of
Education in November approved the first state-adopted instructional material
for use in an ethnic studies course.
A Holocaust memoir called Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin at
Auschwitz won the board’s approval. This book will be available for use in Texas
classrooms beginning in fall 2018.
It was one of only two submissions received under Proclamation 2018, which is the formal
document calling for submissions. The second submission, The Mexican American Studies Toolkit, was not approved by the board.
The board first called for instructional materials that
could be used in ethnic studies classes in Proclamation
2017, which was issued in November 2015. Only one book was submitted, and
it was rejected by the board in November 2016.
Board members were told at that time that high-quality
textbooks were already available in the open market for Mexican American
Studies so they took the unusual step of calling for ethnic studies
instructional material for a second year in a row. This call included ethnic
studies in, but not limited to, Mexican American Studies, African American
Studies, Asian American Studies, and Native American Studies.
Ultimately, however, the call resulted in only the two
submissions under Proclamation 2018.
Copies of the two products can be viewed at https://tea.texas.gov/Academics/Instructional_Materials/Review_and_Adoption_Process/Proclamation_2018/.
“Every child in our schools has a place in our unfolding
American story,” said SBOE Chair Donna Bahorich.
“As such, it is the intention of this board to develop a
specific course on ethnic studies in the near future. We will call for
materials based on specific expectations at that time. With this greater
clarity, we hope to attract multiple publishers to the table to submit
high-quality materials for our students,” she said.
In the meantime, districts may continue to teach this
one-semester elective course as an innovative course or under one of two courses
based on broad and general Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. Those courses
are Special Topics in Social Studies and
Independent Study in English. Districts
may use their instructional materials allotment to purchase textbooks and other
instructional material that may not be on the list of adopted instructional
materials from the open market.