State Board of Education approves African American Studies coursework, hears applications for latest charters

The Texas State Board of Education met this week and it was the first meeting led by new Board Chairman Keven Ellis (R-Lufkin). Among the major board agenda items was consideration of a new African American Studies course, for which the board took testimony from over 60 witnesses who were all in favor of the new curriculum. Our own Tony Chenevert, retired Dallas ISD educator and Alliance AFT vice president, submitted testimony he had delivered to Dallas ISD when that board adopted African American Studies.

When the Board’s Committee on School Initiatives discussed the latest application for charter school applicants on Thursday, the committee had a robust discussion on the many shortfalls of the charter approval process. Members asked TEA staff for more notice to public school districts when a charter applicant will impact their district’s enrollment and for TEA to post all charter community meetings on its website.

Board Member Georgina Perez (D-El Paso), who is not a member of this committee, asked to attend and noted the many disparities she has seen in student enrollment between charters and public schools. She noted drastic disparities in the extremely low charter school enrollment of English Language Learners and students with special needs compared to the much higher enrollment of these students in nearby public schools.