Publishers given second chance to submit ethnic studies material

AUSTIN – The State Board of Education today approved 492 new instructional material products for use in Texas public schools beginning next fall but decided not to include a Mexican American studies textbook, as well as seven career and technical education submissions.

The approved materials will be available for use in courses covering career and technical education, languages other than English, and Algebraic Reasoning.

Only one product was submitted for use in an elective course called Special Topics in Social Studies. The board did not approve Mexican American Heritage published by Momentum Instruction, LLC. The book drew extensive public criticism during two public hearings.

“The board is committed to making sure our students receive historically accurate materials in the telling of your story,” Donna Bahorich, chair of the board, told Hispanic Texans who attended the instructional materials public hearing.  “Everyone deserves to have their story told in a fair and accurate matter.”

Because of the board’s decision not to adopt Mexican American Heritage, leaving no state-adopted materials for a course focused on Mexican American studies, the board took the unusual step of calling for publishers to submit ethnic studies materials for Special Topics in Social Studies again next year. They did this by adding Special Topics to Proclamation 2018, a document that is basically a call for bids.

Any materials submitted under Proclamation 2018 would be reviewed and considered for adoption next year.

Some districts have offered courses in Mexican American studies and other ethnic studies topics for more than a decade but they have offered them under a broader course called Special Topics in Social Studies or Independent Study in English. Teachers have previously compiled their own instructional materials from a variety of sources because state-adopted material was not available.

Products approved by the board today will be available for use in Texas classrooms beginning in fall 2017. Under current Texas law, districts and charter schools may use their instructional materials allotment to purchase materials that have not been approved by the board but those materials still must cover the state’s curriculum standards called the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.

Along with Mexican American Heritage, the board did not adopt seven products submitted by publisher Red and Black Books LLC for use in a variety of career and technical education courses.