On August 1st, many students showed up to the Texas State Board of Education meeting to demand an honest and accurate curriculum that includes more diverse stories. Students voiced the need for a Asian American Studies and American Indian/Native Studies, strengthened African American and Mexican American Studies, and the need to feel represented in the material they are being taught. Many students echoed not feeling represented in the classroom. Ayaan Moledina, a 13 year old student, said to SBOE members, “You have the power to make everyone feel represented in the curriculum that they are taught every single day. You must approve this course because we deserve to learn our stories.” (Watch their full testimony here). We are so proud of each and every young Texan who spoke up. The youth of today keep coming back stronger and stronger. Your presence fills the room.
There are many studies that have shown the positive effects of having culturally relevant pedagogy that uplifts all of our stories. (See links to these studies below.) The results showed that schools with ethnic studies programs improved grades and attendance for students of color and for all students. Echoing the testimony delivered to the State Board of Education, many students have discussed how they like learning about their history and have an appreciation for having a course that is inclusive of their backgrounds. Teachers have even noticed a change in students’ participation and understanding.
To all Texas students: Thank you for organizing and uniting on different causes. Thank you for not settling for the status quo. Thank you for dreaming. Some adults assume kids don’t care or that they don’t know what is best for them. Yet you have proven that you understand much more than what is credited to you. You have shown resilience in the face of adversity. You have shown how devoted you are to making change happen by organizing protests and attending school board, city council, state legislature, and State Board of Education meetings. No one can take that away from you. Your dreams, goals, aspirations, and wishes for a better future can come true when we continue to advocate together.
There are many ways for you to continue to get involved and advocate.
- You can testify at the next State Board of Education meeting, which will be between August 30th and September 2nd.
- The State Board of Education might delay their curriculum review process due to political pressure. Take action with us by telling the SBOE to update the social studies curriculum now!
- You may also submit a video to our We Belong in History campaign where you can share what you want to see in social studies in the future. Follow us @cdftexas to see and share your stories!
- Lastly you can go to your local school board meeting and demand a more honest education.
If you want to learn more about advocacy, join our YOUthTX program. We would love to have you at our events. Together we can uplift our voices to support policies to create the state you deserve.
Youth Civic Education and Engagement Intern