Our friend the AztecMuse and some of his associates will be in Austin to discuss what seems like a surprise move to make changes to higher education History requirements.
Taking a page out of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s anti-ethnic playbook, State Senator Dan Patrick has filed SB1128, a bill which will basically bar colleges and universities from allowing students the opportunity to take History courses with an ethnic emphasis in place of the required U.S. History and Texas History Courses. In essence, Mexican American, African American and other U.S. History courses are now threatened by Dan Patrick’s bill.
Patrick offers a simple, yet dangerous, change to the original statute by adding “from courses providing a comprehensive survey” of American History. Patrick adds that students may partially satisfy the two-course requirement with a Texas History course “from courses providing a comprehensive survey” of Texas History.
Most dictionaries will define a survey course as,”An academic course consisting of an overview of a broad topic or field of knowledge.”
So, in this case, he is definitely targeting any course with an “emphasis” in, or even a course that deals specifically with, a U.S. or other ethnic group. Or at the very least, forcing university and college administrators to define what material is included in a survey course.
The Librotraficante folks state they have the following issues with the bill:
*This would prevent the story of Mexican American Congressional Medal of Honor Winners from being taught in courses that count toward degrees in Texas colleges.
*TX Senator Dan Patrick is basing his bill on the findings from a survey conducted by the National Association of Scholars (NAS). This group targets multicultural studies throughout the U.S. In 1990, the group was active in getting the Mexican American newspaper at the University of Texas defunded.
*If it isn’t broke, don’t’ fix it. The NAS survey uses faulty research to erroneously discredit the Texas educational system.
*In a global economy, why would anyone want to build a border wall around History Courses?
And Los Librotraficantes are headed to Austin to state the case of those of us who support ethnic studies and courses which are as American and Texan as any others deemed such, and as has been decided by Texas colleges and universities for decades.
Houston, TX (March 13, 2013) – Does Texas Senator Dan Patrick want to prevent the story of Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Roy Benavidez from being taught in Texas classrooms? Dan Patrick’s Senate Bill 1128 (SB1128) would do just that.
Who: The Librotraficantes will be heading to Austin, TX this time instead of Arizona. This includes writers, professors, school board members, & students in Mexican American Studies programs.
When: Thursday, March 14, 2013. 9 a.m. – 12:30
Meetings with Education Committee Chair Rep. Seliger (9am), Dan Patrick (10:30 am) and other reps.
Why: TX Senator Dan Patrick’s SB1128 must be taken off the floor. It is another Arizona House Bill 2281 in the making. It is an attack on Ethnic Studies.
Back when DosCentavos was in college, I took care of my History requirements at Austin Community College. At the time, there was an offering of HIST 1301 and HIST 1302 (the required courses) with a “Mexican American emphasis.” Actually, it was taught by a white guy by the name of Al Purcell, who actually taught them quite well and no other History was missed; if anything, a good dose of History about Texas Latinos was included that may not have been included in a “regular” course for whatever reason. Now, I look at the course selection and separate courses are offered with the ethnic emphases, and I wonder, what happened? And can these “emphasis” courses be brought back in case Dan Patrick gets his way? And did this happen at other college and universities? And why?
Either way, this bill, and its companion bill HB1938, stand to affect how colleges and universities operate, and how the legislature can simply affect curriculum based on attitudes toward US ethnic groups.