The Texas Ethnic Studies Act would include Mexican-American and African-American history in the curriculum

Citing strong student interest and the need for teens to understand their own history and culture, Texas state lawmakers introduced another bill Monday that would require public schools to do so offer ethnic studies when the 88th session of the Texas Legislature convenes in January.

House Bill 45 is one of several education-based bills introduced on Monday, the first day the state legislature could table legislation for the upcoming session. The measure aims to add ethnic studies, particularly Mexican-American and African-American history, to a high school social studies curriculum that already requires students to study the history of Texas and the United States.

While the Texas State Board of Education has established some ethnic studies courses, these are not part of the state’s high school diploma requirements and are not offered throughout the state.

“Interest in these courses has only increased since they became available as an elective, but I’m here to tell you that our history is not an elective,” said the bill’s lead author, State Rep. Christina Morales, flanked by other Democratic officials and advocates from the Latino community in front of the historic LULAC Council 60 building in Midtown.

“We need to make sure that all students in our Texas public high schools learn about their own history so they can be successful because this is for a better Texas,” Morales said.

The bill would allow ethnic studies courses to count as half credits towards the three required social studies credits required to graduate from high school. An identical measure was first introduced during the 87th legislative session in 2021 and passed the House of Representatives by an 81-59 vote before stalling in the Senate.

It will likely face renewed opposition from Texas Republicans, who banned the teaching of “critical race theory” — a progressive academic framework examining the impact of race in politics and society — in public schools in 2021, arguing that children are against each other and makes white children in particular feel guilty about historical events that are beyond their control.

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