Texas Approves Mexican-American Studies Course Under Different Name

After a four-year fight to make it a part of their elective curriculum, Texas’ board of education approved a Mexican-American studies course on Wednesday (Apr. 11). But they won’t refer to it that way.

The Board of Education will be calling the class, “Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent,” according to the Texas Tribune.

The vote, made official on Friday (Apr. 13) to approve the motion was nearly unanimous. But Republican board member David Bradley was not in favor of the label, “Mexican-American.” “I find hyphenated Americanism to be divisive,” Bradley said.

Three Latinx members of the board protested this amendment, Think Progress notes. Erika Beltran, Ruben Cortez, and Marisa Perez-Diaz, all Democrats, voted against the change while the last Latinx on the board, Georgina Perez, voted in favor. Perez-Diaz encouraged Bradley to acknowledge the difference between her American experience but it was to no avail. One other board member, Democrat Lawrence Allen (Houston) voted against removing the hyphenated label.

This was an is a topic of contention. Mexican-American relations through history are overlooked and understated, some have said. It was their reason for the request to begin with. Others are glad, no matter the circumstances. They will have access to the contributions of Mexican-Americans, saying that it grants them more “freedom.”

While the course was approved, it still won’t necessarily be available at all Texas schools. The permission leaves it up to different schools to decide whether they want to offer the course, though it won’t be mandated.

Kathy Miller of the Texas Freedom network noted that the approval is long overdue. “It’s important for students to learn that the story of Texas and our nation includes the experiences and contributions of Mexican Americans and other people from diverse backgrounds,” she said.

Miller is one of many. Over 30 public speakers voiced support of the course’s approval on Wednesday. The courses will be offered earliest for the 2019-20 school year.