By Alisha Tuff
Texas’ State Board of Education has been reviewing the social studies TEKS this year and its June 15th meeting made nationwide news. The controversy all started when Board Member Davis pointed out that a working group’s suggested usage of “involuntary relocation” to describe slavery is not just inaccurate but also offensive. As I watched the meeting I was both flabbergasted and appalled. I thought of the emotional trauma and damages this would cause many marginalized students. I also feared how minimizing slavery would further exacerbate oppression on Black people. Although the SBOE later confirmed that they have asked the work group to rewrite that passage, the suggested language is just one example of how people of color and other marginalized groups are constantly being written out of history by work groups, textbook authors, and the Texas State Board of Education standards. These standards have created barriers for all of us getting an honest education. It is time to stand up and demand an honest education that serves all Texas students.
It is time to strengthen African American/ Black, Latino, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, Indigenous, women, and LGBTQ+ voices in the curriculum. This country was built on the backs of many of these people. It is time to honor all of our experiences. We are going to be the generation that changes things because we recognize that we are not the problem. The education system is the problem and we have the power to change it for the better. We will no longer be denied our flowers in life. We will not allow the whitewashing of our ancestors’ experiences to prevail. We have the power to influence education reform, and our collective voices will lead to the education we deserve. We are the protectors of our ancestors’ stories. We belong in history, and we will no longer allow our existence and history to be tarnished.
On August 1st the State Board of Education will be having a public hearing to hear feedback about the new social studies curriculum. I ask that you use your voice at the meeting or send an email to the State Board of Education demanding an honest social studies course in which every student sees themself represented in history and as a future leader of our state. Make sure to tell a friend or family member! There is power in numbers, and we can make change when we are united.
Youth Civic Education and Engagement Intern