State Board of Education today voted to take steps to approve Texas Essential
Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for an ethnic studies course focused on Americans
of Mexican descent and to use a course originated by the Houston Independent
School District as the basis for the standards.
action will lead to the development of the first state standards for a
high-school level ethnic studies course in Texas.
specific standards will be presented for a preliminary vote at the board’s next
meeting in June, with final approval expected in September. The course now called
Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans
of Mexican Descent would become available for use in Texas classrooms in the
2019-2020 school year.
is no doubt that the SBOE supports enabling our students to see themselves more
clearly as a vital part of our unfolding American story,” said SBOE Chair Donna
board agreed to create a Mexican American Studies class in 2014 and placed it in a queue for new course development. Most of the new courses placed ahead
of it, such as courses on cybersecurity and proper
interaction with police officers, were mandated by the Texas
school districts and charters are already teaching a Mexican American Studies
course using an approved innovative
submitted by Houston ISD. This course, with only the course title changed by
the SBOE, will be the starting point for the state standards. Other educators teach
a similar class under broader state course titles such as Special Topics in
Social Studies or Independent Study in English.
teachers who testified Wednesday told the board that they have had to piece
together the curriculum for these courses. Having state-approved TEKS will make
it easier for teachers to teach the course and to share materials, they said.
board also instructed Texas Education Agency staff to bring to the board for
consideration any future comprehensive ethnic studies courses in
Native-American Studies, Latino Studies, African-American Studies or
Asian-Pacific Islander Studies that have been approved through the commissioner
of education’s innovative course process.