News Roundup: Education Board Tentatively Adopts Standards For Mexican-American Studies Curriculum

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelApril 12, 2018 2:22 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The State Board of Education voted Wednesday to tentatively approve standards for a Mexican-American studies class.

From KUT News in Austin, Claire McInerny reports the board also changed the name of this class in the process.

The board was set to originally vote on a Mexican-American studies elective, but board member David Bradley, Republican from Beaumont, wanted to change it at the last minute because he didn’t like focusing on one ethnic group.

“I’m not a German-American, I’m not an Irish-American. I think that’s the way our country developed that we were a melting pot. I find hyphenated Americanism to be to be divisive,” Bradley said.

He proposed changing the name to Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans with Mexican Descent. Some board members criticized the change because they wanted students to learn about specific cultures. Thursday’s vote by the full board was preliminary. The board will take official action at its meeting Friday.

There will not be another hurricane named Harvey. The World Meteorological Organization is also retiring the names Irma, Maria, and Nate, saying all four monikers “don’t bear repeating.” Typically, storm names are reused on a six-year cycle.

Dennis Feltgen, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hurricane Center, told Houston Public Media why these names were being relegated to history.

“Names are retired if they are so deadly or destructive that the future use of their name would be insensitive. You can go back through time, there’s very historical names like Aubrey, and Donna, and of course Katrina and Rita. You don’t ever want to hear those names on a list again and they won’t be,” he sayd.

The names will be replaced with Harold, Margot and Nigel. They’ll first show up in 2023.

This week, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded $18 million in grants to fund almost 200 projects across the country. Over $1 million will go to nine projects in Texas.

John Parrish Peede, senior deputy chairman of the NEH says that’s a big achievement.

“These are Texas institutions that are coming up with their own ideas, they’re submitting them to the federal government for competitive review, and they’re being seen as national distinctive – as nationally important projects,” he said.

One of the projects that got funding is at Texas A&M University.

It will go towards developing an interdisciplinary minor in Hispanic Agriculture Studies.

“And this is something that I think you would only see in a few states in America, where to understand the evolution of agriculture in Texas and to think through where the humanities and history and cultural studies come together, that is food culture, that is agriculture,” Peede said.

Universities and museums in Austin, Houston, Lubbock, and San Antonio also received grants.