Despite two Asian American teenagers’ efforts to convince the School Board of Education (SBOE) to diversify the social studies courses, the SBOE decided to delay any changes until 2025.
Pakistani American student Ayaan Moledina, 13, was one of the students who spoke out due to a lack of any deeper discussion about Islam and the contributions of Asians.
“It’s all about how these were Islamic terrorists, killing in the name of Allah, but they did not represent the values that I am taught in my mosque every day,” Moledina told KERA News.
Another Pakistani American student Zoya Haq, 18, also testified beside Moledina. Both proposed for changes to be made for social studies courses; this included an Asian American ethnic studies course and more mentions of Asian contributions to America.
“There are so many Asian American students who are going through the system every year,” Haq told KERA News. “This can really, like, shape their futures and shape their self-identity and self-esteem.”
The state board opted to delay a vote on any social studies course updates until 2025 after they faced political pressure from conservative lawmakers and parents. According to KERA News, the argument is the proposed updates were influenced by critical race theory and didn’t have enough “American exceptionalism” or Christianity in them.
This is not the first time critical race theory has appeared in discussions on education. In June 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that restricted how current events and America’s history of racism was taught in schools.
In signing the bill, The Texas Tribune stated Abbott said “more must be done” to “abolish critical race theory in Texas.”
Some Republican board members insisted that political pressure had no influence over the delay.
Current Republican board member Pam Little told KERA News that the proposed changes were inappropriate in certain areas. Little pointed out how fifth graders would have to learn about the Crusades, which she said were not age-appropriate and heavy material.
“I don’t want to say it was politically motivated,” Little said to KERA News. “I would rather say it was parent-motivated and educator-motivated.”
Nonprofit organizations like Asian Texans for Justice continue to fight discrimination against Asian Americans. Interim Executive Director Lily Trieu said the board’s decision to delay the update surprised her, especially after hearing from the students.
“The effort to get Asian American history in classrooms is also a response to the rise in anti-Asian hate and violence all across the country,” Trieu said.
With the increase in physical and verbal attacks on Asians, Trieu said the way to combat stereotypes and hate crimes based on race or religion is to have an inclusive curriculum.
“It’s so confusing that we are living in a time where learning about each other and empathy is something that can be considered controversial,” Moledina said.
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Oh my! No teaching real history and culture of ALL Americans – And yet… “… didn’t have enough “American exceptionalism” or Christianity in them.“ Once again proof we are not seen as Americans. Amazing how much hypocrisy they live in with total unawareness.