Education groups call for inclusion of more ethnic studies as SBOE works toward new social studies TEKS

Texas AFT President Zeph Capo stands at a podium in the lobby of State Board of Education. Behind him is statue art with two children sitting on a book atop a glove and the shape of texas and Texas flag
Texas AFT President Zeph Capo

On Wednesday, Texas AFT participated in a press conference with allied Mexican-American studies organizations calling on the State Board of Education (SBOE) to provide an equitable education that prepares students for the future by learning the history and cultures of Indigenous/Native communities, people of color, LGBTQIA and other communities as we become a more global society. Texas AFT President Zeph Capo spoke of the need for academic freedom and trust in our community of professional educators.

The backdrop to the calls from these organizations is the ongoing work on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for social studies, including the implementation of SB 3, the law passed in September designed to further restrict discussions of diversity and inclusion issues in Texas classrooms. Working groups currently are reviewing content for those TEKS, which are expected to come before the board for adoption in November.

In its meeting Wednesday, the SBOE directed TEA to convene workgroups to create two new ethnic studies courses in addition to the existing Mexican American Studies and African American Studies courses.

The board also received an update on the Generation 27 charter applications. Nine applicants have made it through the process to capacity interviews during the week of May 9. Texas AFT will be present to ensure that disreputable charter organizations don’t negatively impact our students, teachers, and local districts.

In its meetings this week, the SBOE also discussed graduation requirements, career and technical education, and technology applications.