Pending state legislation limits what what ethnic studies teach in public schools, San Antonio professor says

Texas A&M University-San Antonio professor predicts ‘watered down curriculum’ over issues of race

Texas lawmakers are expected to pass a law to change how much history is shared in the classroom.

SAN ANTONIO – As one of the few states that has both African-American and Mexican-American studies as a high school credit, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University-San Antonio said the pending legislation in Austin is being followed nationally.

Lawrence Scott, Ph.D., who teaches educational leadership, was among the developers of African-American studies in Texas.

“We’re leading the nation in a lot of ways,” Scott said. “But if we truly want to talk about equity, diversity, inclusion, this bill will set us back.”

Scott said HB 3979 and SB 2202 “stifles and stymies” the ability of teachers to draw the connection between the past and the present.

Supporters of the legislation call that “critical race theory.”

One of the authors of the bill, Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, said it would ban teaching that “one race or sex is inherently superior.”

Scott said that’s not so, saying it’s a prism through which students can learn how history correlates to current events.

If enacted as expected, then implemented in the new school year, Scott said, “We would teach a very watered down curriculum that starts around very critical, crucial issues about race that we need to discuss if we want to progress as a nation.”

Scott said San Antonio, Judson, North East and Northside independent school districts would have to drastically revamp the curriculum that teachers are now learning if the legislation is signed into law.

Scott said data has shown that by learning about other races, students talk to each other.

“We know it’s not going to be pretty and the conversations are not going to be comfortable,” Scott said. “But now that we’re here, let’s talk about how we can move forward to a hopeful future for this nation.”

Scott said those conversations would go a long way toward healing, especially among the next generation growing up in divided times.

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.