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Texas Board of Education to discuss African American Studies course requirements in schools

A committee is looking to innovative a course curriculum that has already been adopted across 23 Dallas ISD campuses.

DALLAS — The State Board of Education is considering a proposal to adopt African American Studies Course requirements for use in schools across Texas.

A curriculum adopted by the Dallas Independent School District was discussed Thursday morning by the State Board of Education’s Committee on Instruction during its meeting in Austin. The committee discussed the curriculum and course as part of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.

Dallas ISD’s innovative African American Studies course has been introduced on 23 campuses this school year.

Leslie Williams is Deputy Chief of Dallas ISD’s Racial Equity Office. He was among the team of professionals who collaborated to design the ethnic studies curriculum.

Williams said, "We have students who are hearing about it and they say, 'Hey, I want to be in that course.'"

The course is being offered as an elective. It comes two years after the State Board of Education approved and Dallas ISD incorporated a course on Mexican American Studies.

Williams says Dallas ISD’s mission was to offer course equity. The team of local and national scholars began drafting the curriculum one year ago.

Educators say students in the African American Studies elective are learning about mathematics, art, sociology, music and literacy through historical and cultural lenses.

Credit: WFAA
Students enrolled in African American Studies

Williams explained, ”The main goal is that when students learn their history and their culture, it builds their self esteem. Students feel better about themselves.”

State Board of Education members praised the work put into Dallas ISD’s African American Studies course curriculum.

Board Member Aicha Davis told the Committee, “It was a community effort, and people from all walks of life were involved in it.”

The Committee on Instruction recommended moving the discussion to the full State Board of Education to consider potential ways to adopt and expand the African American Studies course in schools across the State of Texas.

Williams said, ”Now students from all over the state will benefit from the work that we’ve done.”

The State Board of Education is expected to discuss the African American Studies course in November. Public hearings will also be scheduled.

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