Texas OKs Mexican-American studies curriculum under new name

The Texas Board of Education has given preliminary approval to creating statewide academic standards for a Mexican-American studies high school course — but only after changing the name to "ethnic studies," which conservatives argued is less divisive.

The Republican-controlled board listened Wednesday to hours of often emotional testimony from students, teachers, parents, academic experts and activists who urged a consistent framework for school districts already offering Mexican-American studies courses.

It then voted 14-1 to approve standards for a course called "Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent."

In 2014, the same board refused to approve a full, statewide Mexican-American course. School districts can instead create their own, and supporters argued that cementing consistent curriculums would make existing programs easier to teach.

Texas public schools are now majority Hispanic.