PROTEST THE NAME CHANGE/KEEP MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES

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On Friday, April 13, 2018, the Texas State Board of Education (TXSBOE) approved Texas Essential Skills and Knowledge (TEKS) standards for a Mexican American Studies (MAS) elective course for high school students. This is the first time in Texas and US history that a state board of education approves a MAS course, and the first time in Texas history that an Ethnic Studies course of any kind is approved. In addition, the TXSBOE voted to open the process to create other Ethnic Studies courses. We commend the TXSBOE for finally approving this MAS course and opening up the process to create other Ethnic Studies courses.

The TXSBOE vote to approve this MAS course should have been an historic victory for the TXSBOE, the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) Tejas Foco Committee on MAS Pre-K-12, and the many organizations and individuals who have been advocating for such a course before the board for the last five years. However, this historic vote was marred by the TXBOE’s amendment and vote to change the name of the course from Mexican American Studies to Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent. This is unacceptable to the NACCS Tejas Foco Committee on MAS Pre-K-12, and we demand that the TXSBOE vote to change the name back to its original name, Mexican American Studies, for the following reasons:

1)  The course approved by the TXSBOE is modeled after the Innovative course that the Houston Independent School District adopted with the consent of the Texas Education Agency. Its title, Mexican American Studies, reflects the Mexican American Studies course content;

2)   Mexican American Studies is an established Field of Study in Texas as authorized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the higher education counterpart to the TXSBOE;

3)  Mexican American has been the most popular English-language self-referent since the early 1900s and the typical way to refer to Mexican-origin persons within the US;

4)  Names are important. Mexican Americans have the right to name themselves, the field of study, and courses within this field of study. They also have the right to tell their own stories, and those that have been written in their name;

5)  The large numbers of Mexican Americans in Texas public schools calls for the designation of Mexican American Studies. Mexican Americans and other Latinx students comprise 52% of the almost 5.4 million students in Texas schools Pre-K-12, and this will grow to almost 70% by 2050;

6)  In singling out the name change for this Mexican American Studies course, the TXSBOE has created a glaring inconsistency with the other courses included in the vote: Native American Studies, African American Studies, Latino Studies and Asian/Pacific Islander Studies; and

7)  The word "Overview" in the name change calls for a cursory treatment and not an in-depth examination of the subject, in contradiction with the broad purpose and content of this course. In addition, the term “Americans of Mexican Descent” is not a term that most Mexican Americans/Chicanxs identify with and is a throwback to the 1950s Jim Crow era of segregation when Black and Brown youth were denigrated for their race and ethnicity in Texas schools.

The National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Tejas Foco Committee on Mexican American Studies Pre-K-12 has been working tirelessly over the last five years to advance Mexican American Studies in Texas schools with significantly positive and historic results. The recent decision by the TXSBOE to misname this Mexican American Studies course represents one more obstacle in our work. We are committed to opposing this name change until the members of the TXSBOE accept our reasonable petition. It is an easy fix. Vote to change the name of this MAS course back to its original title: Mexican American Studies.

Please join us in demanding that the Texas State Board of Education keep the original title of this MAS course they approved by:

*  Signing and Sharing this Petition;

*  Attending the "Protest the Name Change/Keep Mexican American Studies" Press Conference in six cities across Texas on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 1:30pm CST (12:30 in El Paso). https://bit.ly/2xcuVTO

*  Getting your organizations, school districts and schools to pass a Resolution in Support of the MAS name;

*  Calling or e-mailing your Texas State Board of Education elected representative and telling them you support the original title of this course, Mexican American Studies. If you send an e-mail to sboesupport@tea.texas.gov all of the board members will receive it. Here is also a list of all of the TXSBOE members and their contact info: https://tea.texas.gov/index4.aspx?id=2147506719

*  Attending the "Protest the Name Change/Keep Mexican American Studies" Press Conference on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 8:30am, and signing up to testify in support of the MAS name before the Texas State Board of Education in Austin, Texas on this same day. Registration opens up on Friday, June 8.  http://bit.ly/2FeZbAM

More info at:  www.facebook.com/approveMAS and #ApproveMAS

Tlazokamati/Gracias/Thank You for your support.

 

           



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