Mexican-American studies course wins final approval
But in partisan vote, state panel splits over what to call the 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.