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Proposed curriculum referring to slavery as 'involuntary relocation' rejected by Texas Board of Education

A San Antonio mom and a local school board member share why it's important for students to be taught the full, truthful history of slavery in the United States.

SAN ANTONIO — The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) unanimously voted to send back a draft proposal using "involuntary relocation" to describe slavery to second graders. 

The board is expected to vote on new curriculum in November. While the Texas Education Agency has released a statement stating they "will not downplay the role of slavery in American history", the draft created controversy online. 

SBOE member Aisha Davis shared a portion of the June 15 meeting on Facebook, where she brings up concerns about "involuntary relocation" not being a fair representation of slavery in the United States.

When the Texas Tribune first reported the draft, San Antonio mom of two, Corin Reyes, was in disbelief and shared the article with her mother. 

"I was disappointed," said Reyes. "I don’t sugarcoat things with my kids, I want them to know the truth and know that they’re mature enough to handle the truth in a way that’s age appropriate." 

Reyes is also the Director of Health Equity for YWCA San Antonio, a nonprofit organization committed to eliminating racism and empowering women. 

"The only way to move forward is if we all have honest conversations and that starts with our children," she said. 

Northside ISD Board Member and Executive Vice President for the Texas Caucus of Black School Board Members, Bobby Blount said eliminating a the full history of a community leads to more polarization. 

"There’s gonna be some negative things that people are gonna have to learn not only from the past, but also the current, the challenges we’re facing today," he said. 

Blount added that he and his colleagues are focused on addressing on important challenges facing their schools, such as: achievement gaps, AP class enrollment, Gifted and Talented enrollment, and moving towards equitable educational outcomes for all students. 

He said adding challenges about changing or limiting the way history is taught often sets them back from addressing other issues. 

Developing new curriculum for Texas Public Schools happens once every decade. This year, SBOE will have to take Senate Bill 3 into consideration. The bill, which was signed into law in 2021, dictates how slavery and race related topics are taught in Texas Public Schools. The law states that slavery should not be taught as part of the true founding of America and that slavery was merely a deviation of American values. 

While Reyes hopes facts are presented in classrooms, she knows history lessons won't always end in school for her children.

"When they come home to me, they will know the truth one way or another."

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