This article appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of The Classroom Teacher.

During a February meeting in Austin, State Board of Education members approved standards for an African American Studies course, keeping the new elective on track for implementation in the 2020-21 school year. 

The board approved the one-credit social studies course for first reading and filing authorization. A formal public comment period is open through April 10 for those interested in offering feedback about the course, which is based on an innovative curriculum created by the Dallas Independent School District. The course, implemented for the first time this school year, is currently being taught at 16 Dallas ISD schools. After gathering feedback and making any adjustments, the course will be considered for final approval at the board’s April 17 meeting. 

“I’m proud of what this board has done for ethnic studies both in the past for Mexican American Studies and what we are currently doing for African American Studies,” SBOE Chair Keven Ellis said in a statement.

In approving the course, Texas will become the fifth state to offer an elective that covers the history and culture of African Americans and includes topics such as history, citizenship, culture, economics, science, technology, geography and politics. The board approved a Mexican American Studies course in 2018.