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State Board of Education approves African American Studies course for high school students

The board gave final approval to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) during its first-ever virtual meeting.

DALLAS — During a virtual meeting on April 22, Texas leaders gave final approval to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for an African American Studies course for high school students.

In January, the State Board of Education (SBOE) approved the course for a preliminary vote, with a public comment period through April. 

“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,” said SBOE Chair Keven Ellis.

The course is based on one created by the Dallas Independent School District. Dallas ISD implemented it for the first time this school year and it is currently being taught at 16 schools in the district.

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According to the SBOE, African American Studies offers an overview of the history and culture of African Americans and covers topics like history, citizenship, culture, economics, science, technology, geography and politics.

The other states currently offering similar state-approved courses are North Carolina, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee.

This course becomes the second ethnic studies course approved by the SBOE, which approved a Mexican American Studies course in 2018. Texas is now the first state in the nation to offer standalone Mexican American studies and African American studies for its students.

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