DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas ISD says approximately 70% of its student body is Hispanic and because of that, the district is making an effort to offer classes reflective of their heritage.
Luis Macias is one of the first teachers in DISD to teach Mexican American studies.
He said historically, this has been missing from history books.
“We do have a majority of Hispanics in DISD and it really is a big disservice when they’re not seeing their side of the story or their contributions to American history,” he said.
Two years ago, the Texas State Board of Education approved the course as a state credited course for Texas high school students and Dallas ISD immediately got on board.
“How could they not be open to it with the Hispanic population DISD has?” he said.
“We do believe this paves the way for giving our students a better perspective,” DISD Social Studies Director Shalon Bond said.
Macias said as he started this class, he realized a lot his students don’t really know about their heritage.
“The very first day I asked them can you think of any Mexican American that has made a contribution to the United States and the main thing that they tell me is Cesar Chavez,” he said. “They know his name, but they don’t know what he did. They don’t know about any other contributions.”
One of his students, Valeria Facudo, said it’s learning information like this that made her want to sign up for the class.
“Surrounding myself with Mexican American students and Mr. Macias can help me gain a sense my culture back,” the Trinidad Garza Early College High School junior said.
Right now, this class is offered as an elective, but in the future Macias hopes it will become a required part of the district’s curriculum.
“All Americans should be taking this class just like more Americans should be taking African American studies,” he said. “That way we learn about a different culture other than our own and we understand where they’re coming from.”