Curriculum controversy

The State Board of Education ducked a vote to adopt a stand-alone Mexican-American studies course for high school students. It opted on a call to publishers for instructional materials on other groups as well.

This has merit, but the issue of a stand-alone course shouldn’t have been even a bit controversial. The board should have asked itself three questions.

• Does the existing curriculum for high school students give proper attention to the contributions of Mexican-Americans in Texas and the United States? No.

• In the realm of electives that also includes floral design, is an elective Mexican-American studies course unreasonable? No.

• Is there value — with lower academic achievement and other challenges present — for Latino students and others to learn with some depth about this culture? Yes.

The real fear here is that these courses will radicalize Texas students.

No, done properly, these courses will simply give an unvarnished view of history and the roots of contemporary dilemma. It would, in other words, be educational, telling people things they didn’t know — things that might even inspire.

And let’s get rid of the trope that says one can’t have pride in specific culture and not be American.

Texas should have long ago been teaching about all major groups. But learning about the soon-to-be majority in Texas should’ve been a no-brainer.

Districts have had the option of teaching this but generally haven’t. Board action would have provided incentive.

But, then, a board that manufactures controversy where there should be none is an old story. – San Antonio Express-News

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