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State Board Of Education Urged To Create Mexican American Course

Supporters say course would give broader history lesson, engage students.

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Nearly 40 people signed up to speak before the State Board of Education in Austin.

All except one supported making Mexican-American studies a new course for public high schools. Dan Arellano was one of those speakers.

“The story of Texas is an incomplete one without the inclusion of the contributions of our ancestors and I feel that history should be taught in a seamless manner and it doesn’t begin with the arrival of Stephen F. Austin.”

He and other supporters say such a course would not only give a broader understanding of Texas history, it would also engage more students.

More than half of all students in Texas public schools are Hispanic.

Tony Diaz is a professor at Lone Star College.

“Who will walk with us in the new American? And who will turn their back on us? Really there is no logical reason to not support and not implement Mexican-American studies.”

Many critics who oppose the idea see it as a political move. Others think cultural studies should be integrated into basic history and social studies — and not be a separate class.

Already the Houston school board has endorsed the idea.

But the proposal faces an uphill battle in Austin where the state board has a Republican majority.

The state board is expected to take a preliminary vote Wednesday and a final vote later this week.

If the state leaders do endorse an official Mexican-American studies class, the soonest it could be offered in schools would be 2015-2016.

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