Chávez warns education board on curriculum
By GARY SCHARRER Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
Nov. 18, 2009, 11:14PM
AUSTIN — State Rep. Norma Chávez warned the State Board of Education on Wednesday to include more Hispanics in new history curriculum standards or risk possible budget scrutiny.
Hispanic children make up a majority of the early elementary grades in the state's public schools, and the proposed standards give them precious few role models, the El Paso Democrat said.
“They want to see people like themselves,” said Chávez, addressing the board on behalf of the 44-member House Mexican American Legislative Caucus.
Of the 162 historical figures required in the proposed standards for future kindergarten through high school grades, only 16 are Hispanic, she complained.
The board is in the process of adopting new social studies standards that will shape curriculum and textbooks for 4.7 million students for at least 10 years. The first public hearing in January will be followed by a final board vote in March.
Of the 27 required historical figures in the proposed U.S. history standards for high school, only two Hispanics get mentioned — both of them farm labor leaders, César Chávez and Dolores Huerta — and there are no Hispanics among the 19 historical figures proposed for required high school study in U.S. government, she said.
The proposed standards call for additional Hispanic figures to be considered for study but unless they are required, publishers will not include them in textbooks, the lawmaker and others said.
“To make budget threats to the State Board of Education doesn't do much good,” said board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, “We don't have a salary. We don't even have health insurance. What's the Legislature going to do — require us to pay to serve on the board?”