Wednesday, July 28, 2021

‘Erased From The History Books’: Why Asian American History Is Missing In Texas Schools, by Elizabeth Myong

Yes, Asian Americans are omitted from U.S. History books, not unlike most other groups, including women. Read this post, to learn of the recent struggle for inclusion of Asian American Studies, as well as Mexican American, African American, and Native American Studies before the Texas State Board of Education. 

"Erasure" is not quite the word for this as it suggests something was present and then removed. Still, getting erased in historical memory through acts of omission is terrible. So are distortions and errors of interpretation when they occur. This arguably disrespectful posture toward Asian Americans will get further aggravated by House Bill 3979 that goes into effect this fall.  Among other things, it prohibits the teaching of current, controversial events like say, the Atlanta shootings that targeted Asian women last spring.

A first-year teacher cited herein, adds another layer of difficulty, namely, the role of standardized, high-stakes testing as itself an agent of curricular whitewashing and teacher control. To many of us in the fair and valid assessment movement, this has been obvious for such a very long time. Complicating all of this further are State Board of Education politics.

“If the state of Texas doesn't say, this is important material for you to learn, it's hard for us to fit it into the curriculum,” Gross said.

The seeming impediment of the wide diversity of the Asian American student population suggested within should not be viewed as a problem, in my view, especially when the political representation of Asian American policymakers, lawmakers, and teachers structure out their voices to begin with. 

Short of what our imminent Asian American Studies elective course will offer—once TEKS standards for it are established—my main take away from this important statement on Asian American history is that Texas state curricula reflects the interests of those in power. And those in power are either ignorant or willfully blind to Asian Americans' historical experiences primarily because it might empower this growing demographic. So unfortunate.

This is such a small, shameful, defensive posture that forfeits important historical knowledge that could deeply enrich our intellects and social relations in an increasingly interconnected world.

-Angela Valenzuela

‘Erased From The History Books’: Why Asian American History Is Missing In Texas Schools

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