As one of the biggest states in the nation, Texas can have an outsized influence on what happens elsewhere, especially when it comes to public education. After all, publishers eager to sell textbooks want to make sure they can do it in the Lone Star State. Recently, one of Texas’ biggest districts, Fort Worth Independent School District, announced it’s adding a curriculum for Latino and Latina history, which will be for kids from kindergarten through high school.
Max Krochmal, a professor of history and chair of the Department of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies at Texas Christian University, who also is helping develop the curriculum, says the existing curriculum was outdated. Krochmal says he wants to debunk “the myth that Latinos are brand-new to America, and instead show their long presence, contributions, struggles and their work to improve their condition.”
A group of researchers in various fields at TCU, including education specialists and those Krochmal’s department, are trying to get their research findings in front of students through this new curriculum.
“Fort Worth ISD recently approved a Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta holiday. One of the lessons in first grade would be, who is Dolores Huerta, why do we celebrate her? And that could be incorporated along with some of the other standards that have to do with holidays,” Krochmal says.
This school district is 62 percent Hispanic, and Krochmal says he hopes that the state board of education will see that it’s important to make Latino Studies not just an elective, but an integral part of how other subjects are taught, including social studies and even language arts.
“So, we hope it inspires similar actions in other places,” he adds.
Written by Alvaro Céspedes.