Taught properly, history offers insight into a society as an archive of what we consider important enough to pass on to future generations. So we were elated to learn the state Board of Education is ready to approve African American studies electives for high school students in Texas.

Over the years, we’ve criticized the State Board of Education for promoting ideology over facts in Texas history during their often contentious discussions of what students should learn in classrooms. This resulted in major omissions, even distortions, of the roles Texans of color played in making this a great state.

Our hope is this is about to change. Less than two years after the state board approved Mexican American studies, the board early next year is expected to approve its first African American studies course.

It is important for high school students to learn the history of Texas — and the United States — includes the experiences and contributions of Mexican Americans, African Americans and other people from diverse backgrounds. To tell the history of our diverse state with scant attention to trailblazers of color tells only part of a complex story. Plus it is vital students, regardless of race, see themselves in the important parts of history.

This isn’t a squishy, feel-good wish. There’s research to support the academic benefits of ethnic studies. Between 2010 and 2014, Stanford University researchers studied the impact of an ethnic-studies curriculum on struggling ninth-grade students who had been identified as at high risk for dropping out. Attendance increased by 21 percentage points and grade-point average by 1.4 points. The largest gains occurred among boys and Hispanic students, and in the subjects of math and science.

No single study is definitive. Nonetheless, there is a growing body of evidence that minority students benefit from having a role model either in the classroom or in the course materials, and that students of other races also appreciate learning additional perspectives on history.

Such courses allow students of all backgrounds an opportunity to learn who they are and how they and their classmates connect to the broader society. Some education experts also contend the role model effect helps minority students debunk stereotypes that often impede academic performance.

The state board will create curriculum standards for the course based on the African American studies class in the Dallas ISD and is expected to take a final vote in April.

The African American experience is more complex than slavery and the civil rights movement. Now students all over the state will have an opportunity to gain insight into people, incidents and accomplishments that haven’t gotten their proper due in classrooms. As a state, we will be better for it.

This editorial is reprinted from the Nov. 25 edition of the Dallas Morning News.

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(14) entries

Bulldog

I have no problem with it as long as it is an elective, but I doubt it will be taught properly

natives5

What the heck? What are you afraid of?

Bulldog

I fear nothing but God, but parents should have a voice on if they want their children indoctrinated or not to leftist Cultists jibberish.

natives5

So teaching African American studies in school is indoctrinating children into a leftist cult. Are you sure you only fear God?

natives5

Long overdue.

PJBM626

Why not Irish , Italian or all cultural studies to understand what they went through and why they came here. White and other students might be interested. We have so much focus on other cultures, why not be really diverse

PJBM626

Also. Jesus Christ and the Apostles

natives5

That is taught during Sunday school. There is something called the separation of church and state.

PJBM626

Why not schools. What are you afraid of? They will find the truth opposed to far left religion of lies now being taught?

Why do white kids have to be taught about other cultures or race. They already get this Black and Hispanic history months

Why not teach all cultures about to all children

You afraid

natives5

Yes I am afraid of racists like you who blame

everyone but yourself. If we don’t teach your “white children” about other cultures them they will be racist just like you. Before you deny being racist, and use the line I have black friends, seriously re-read what you wrote. Sounds like you want to segregate again.

natives5

And you are assuming everyone believes in Jesus. I personally do but not everyone does. So you’d allow Islam to be taught in schools too? You truly don’t want diversity.

PJBM626

Why not American cultural studies highlighting ALL groups who came to the US? Why the continual indoctrination of Only African American or Hispanics? This is inclusive and not representing America as it is

Example: The tough times Irish and Italian Americans went through

natives5

It would be nice to include all groups which is essentially what this is doing. First there was the addition of Hispanic studies; now African American studies; I'm sure you will see Asian studies soon; and so on. The process for change has to start somewhere. If you actually opened your eyes and looked around, you would see that most agencies of power do not represent America and it's diversity.

PJBM626

Agree, so set the class in segments

Black, Hispanic, Asian Irish, Italians, Germans etc. let’s do real diversity not selected few

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