Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can stud­ies course wins fi­nal ap­proval

But in par­ti­san vote, state panel splits over what to call the course.

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Julie Chang jchang@states­man.com Course

The State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion on Fri­day of­fi­cially ap­proved the cre­ation of a statewide Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can stud­ies course for high school stu­dents.

Be­fore the 15-mem­ber board unan­i­mously ap­proved the course, board mem­ber Ruben Cortez, D-Brownsville, tried to per­suade the board to call the course “Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can Stud­ies,” but nine Repub­li­cans voted against the idea while all five Democrats voted for it; board Chair­woman Donna Ba­horich, R-Hous­ton, ab­stained from vot­ing on the name. On Wed­nes­day, a ma­jor­ity of the board ap­proved nam­ing the course “Eth­nic Stud­ies: An Over­view of Amer­i­cans of Mex­i­can De­scent,” which was pro­posed by one of the most con­ser­va­tive mem­bers of the board, David Bradley of Beau­mont.

Some Democrats on the board re­it­er­ated Fri­day that not call­ing the course Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can Stud­ies fo­ments di­vi­sive­ness and does not ac­cu­rately char­ac­ter­ize the iden­ti­ties of Mex­i­can-Amer­i­cans.

“We’re all made of the same clay, not the same mold,” board mem­ber Marisa PerezDiaz, D-Con­verse, said through tears. “My col­leagues around this board room iden­ti­fied me. My iden­tity is my own and I am to iden­tify my­self. We iden­ti­fied thou­sands of chil­dren across Texas to­day and took that power from them.”

Board mem­ber Marty Row­ley, R-Amar­illo, said he wanted to keep the new name be­cause that was the in­tent of the ma­jor­ity of the board in Wed­nes­day’s vote.

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