Members of the SBOE in Texas heard debate on Tuesday from those who would like to see a state-wide elective course be offered that would cover Mexican-American history. According to the Dallas Morning News, fifty state lawmakers and activists urged the board to approve the course.

State Board of Education members were urged Tuesday to adopt a new Mexican-American studies course to fill a void in the current social studies curriculum that provides scant coverage of Hispanics.

Fifty state lawmakers and leading minority rights and education groups called on the board to approve the course as an elective in Texas high schools.

But some Republicans on the board remained cool to the idea, pointing out that local school districts can now develop such a course for their students if they want.

“The official state curriculum already includes hundreds of elective courses, including topics such as floral design and Web gaming,” 11 Democratic senators argued in a letter to the board. “Surely there is room to include an elective course about the considerable contributions Mexican-Americans have made to Texas and the rest of our nation.”

Nearly three dozen people testified in favor of the idea during Tuesday’s board hearing, including Tony Diaz, a member of MAS Texas and director of intercultural initiatives at Lone Star College in Harris County.

“Texas must stamp out one of the last vestiges of discrimination. Our community will not be separated from its history,” Diaz said.

Board members were scheduled to debate the idea Wednesday.

Among the few critics of the idea was Lady Theresa Thombs, an unsuccessful GOP candidate for the board last month.

“We are limited with a finite budget in this state, and school districts are limited on what they can spend on curriculum,” Thombs said, estimating it would cost millions of dollars to develop the course. “I would suggest we bring this back down to local control where it belongs.”

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