HOUSTON - Today’s history books cover a lot of the same stuff they did when you were a kid: subjects such as world wars, the presidents and the first walk on the moon. Houston ISD’s superintendent Richard Carranza wants to see a few more topics added.
Citing Houston’s diversity, he says the district’s curriculum needs to reflect today’s reality. He says that means including African-American history, Latino history and LGBT history in the United States.
In a statement to KHOU 11, the district said, in part, “Rather than limiting instruction on certain groups to just one month a year, it makes sense to look at providing a more well-rounded curriculum with options such as LGBTQ and ethnic studies.”
As the leader of San Francisco’s public schools, Carranza made an ethnic studies class a graduation requirement. But Texas isn’t California, so state law could slow HISD’s progress on progress.
According to the Texas Health and Safety Code Section 85.007, educational materials for minors must “state that homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense.” That means HISD might have to jump some legal hurdles before it can introduce any new curriculum.
Houstonians are torn about whether that will actually happen.
“It’ll probably end up happening,” said one woman, who was walking through Montrose’s new Pride crosswalk.
“It’s too many people to not change it, so it’s going to be changed,” added a friend.
At the same intersection, Houston street preacher David Stokes voiced his concerns about the proposal.
“I think the Bible should be in schools. Right now, the Bible’s been taken out of school. If the Bible shouldn’t be in school, why should LGBT curriculum be allowed in schools?” Stokes said.
Texas is one of just eight states with laws that expressly forbid teachers from discussing gay and transgender issues in a positive light.