JUNE 19, 2020 — It was late April of this year when the Texas State Board of Education rendered its final decision on African American studies. With expediency and surprisingly without any contention, the verdict was announced: African American studies were now to be “permitted” in Texas’ classrooms.
Texas teens would no longer need to rely only on Hollywood movies to learn, for example, that it was African American women who solved the math equations that made it possible to send the first men to the moon.
Now UTSA will make history too. In July the College of Education and Human Development will lead the first workshops to provide local high school teachers continuing education hours in the area of African American studies. The goal is simple: Start a new chapter in education that reflects a more inclusive American history.
“It’s a big win,” said Karla Broadus, lecturer and director of the African American Studies program in the Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality Studies at UTSA. “A history that doesn’t teach our next generation about the contributions of all Americans, regardless of the color of their skin, is an incomplete story.”
Broadus, along with lecturers Mario Salas and Charles Gentry, will hold the series of workshops to help current and future educators receive two continuing professional education credit hours. The focus on the Texas Education Agency goals for African American studies is to broaden the knowledge and understanding about the history, culture, economics and political realities for African Americans.
Texas is now the fifth state in the country to offer African American studies in high schools. However, it will be the first state in the nation to offer both Mexican American studies and African American studies.
The UTSA workshops will be offered by the Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and aptly called, “Building Critical Consciousness in the Classroom and Community: African American History, Culture, and Economics.” They will be held on July 14 from 10 a.m. – noon and free . The course will provide attendees the necessary skills and knowledge they need to to meet the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills requirement of African American Studies.
Unlike some other programs, UTSA will make the workshops available to non-educators and the rest of the San Antonio community at no cost. Anyone interested to attend the inaugural workshop is asked to RSVP. Due to the already high enrollment turnout for the initial workshop, a second workshop was added for July 28 from 1 to 3 p.m.
“One of our goals is to make learning about African American history an ‘I want to learn more’ experience for the students who will be impacted and the educators and community leaders who deliver the knowledge,” said Broadus.
Now it’s up to local school districts in San Antonio to decide whether they will offer the courses.
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