Texas OKs Mexican-American studies course _ without the name

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The Texas Board of Education has approved creating statewide academic standards for a Mexican-American studies high school course, but Republicans insisted on calling it "ethnic studies" over the tearful objections of a Democratic member.

Friday's vote creates an elective called "Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent" in a state that was once part of Mexico and where the majority of public school students are Hispanic.

Students, teachers and academics argue that statewide standards will promote more teaching of Mexican-American studies. Board members agreed, but some said using the phrase "Mexican-American studies" excludes other ethnicities.

San Antonio Democrat Marisa Perez-Diaz fought tears as she argued unsuccessfully for the Mexican-American studies name.

The board's 10 Republicans and five Democrats previously refused to create a Mexican-American Studies course. Some school districts devised their own.