Public school students in Texas may or may not learn about important African-American and Latino historical figures because many of the lessons are optional, according to a recently published study by University of Texas researchers. And when it comes to Native Americans and Asian Americans in Texas, "it's almost as if they didn't exist," says the study's author, Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig.
Heilig's study, published in the Harvard Educational Review, examined 11th grade social studies standards. The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS (pronounced teeks), is a set of guidelines adopted by the elected State Board of Education through a highly charged political process in 2010. The standards will be used in public school classrooms for a decade.
Listen to Heilig's critique by clicking the player above, or read the report for yourself.