Texas SB 1128 is a bill introduced by Houston state senator Dan Patrick. On the surface the bill appears tame enough, “relating to curriculum requirements in American and Texas history” for the state’s public higher education institutions. But if you ask Librotraficante (and Rebelde) Tony Diaz and many others who protested in front of the Alamo last Friday in San Antonio, Patrick’s bill is a real attempt at eliminating ethnic studies from Texas’ higher education curriculum.
On Friday, protesters gathered in front of the Alamo to decry SB 1128, which would make it so that minority history classes – like Mexican-American, African-American, LGBT, or feminist history courses, for example – wouldn’t count toward core-credit requirements in Texas schools.
Led by the outspoken Librotraficantes leader Tony Diaz, the group waved banners calling for an end SB 1128. In the crowd, students and activists said they fear Texas is following the lead of Arizona, where similarly innocuous language filed in that state’s legislature killed Mexican-American studies in Tucson public schools.
Though the vague wording of GOP state Sen. Dan Patrick’s bill doesn’t overtly condemn existing minority history programs, critics claim that if minority studies courses are not accepted as part of core curriculum requirements such classes could see a dramatic drop in enrollment and could eventually be phased out.
Sonya Hernández, president of the Mexican-American Studies Students Association at UTSA, brought a contingent of fellow students to help express opposition to the bill. She said, “we want the buck to stop here,” hoping to avoid what happened in Tucson’s schools.
Tony Diaz repeatedly emphasized the power of the Latino vote. After the demonstration in Alamo plaza, the group marched to U.S. Senator John Cornyn’s office downtown to continue the protest.
Here are two videos from the protests:
A copy of the bill is presented here for context.
By: Patrick S.B. No. 1128
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
relating to curriculum requirements in American and Texas history
at institutions of higher education.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Section 51.302(b), Education Code, is amended to
read as follows:
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), a college or
university receiving state support or state aid from public fundsEthic
may not grant a baccalaureate degree or a lesser degree or academic
certificate to any person unless the person has credit for six
semester hours or its equivalent from courses providing a
comprehensive survey of [in] American History. A student is
entitled to submit as much as three semester hours of credit or its
equivalent from courses providing a comprehensive survey of [in]
Texas History in partial satisfaction of this requirement. The
college or university may determine that a student has satisfied
this requirement in whole or part on the basis of credit granted to
the student by the college or university for a substantially
equivalent survey course completed at another accredited college or
university, or on the basis of the student’s successful completion
of an advanced standing examination administered on the conditions
and under the circumstances common for the college or university’s
advanced standing examinations. The college or university may
grant as much as three semester hours of credit or its equivalent
toward satisfaction of this requirement for substantially
equivalent work completed by a student in the program of an approved
senior R.O.T.C. unit.
SECTION 2. The changes in law made by this Act apply only to
the curriculum requirements established for a degree or certificate
program offered by an institution of higher education beginning
with undergraduate students who initially enroll in the institution
for the 2014 fall semester.
SECTION 3. This Act takes effect September 1, 2013.