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K-State Today

February 26, 2015

American ethnic studies faculty testify at ethnic studies House Bill 2207 hearing

Submitted by Melisa Posey

A small delegation from K-State's American ethnic studies department helped make history on Feb. 20 at the launch of ethnic studies House Bill 2207 at the State Capitol.

The new bill, put forward by State Rep. John Alcala, District 57, calls for the implementation of programs that would teach ethnic studies in seven through 12 grades in Kansas.

Professors Yolanda Broyles-Gonzalez, American ethnic studies department head; Tosha Sampson-Choma, English department; and Ben Chappelle, University of Kansas; testified before the House Committee on Education in Topeka.

Shaun Dowdell, American Ethnic Studies Student Association president, and Megan Larosh, association secretary, also attended the historic event.

House Bill 2207 in part states that "ethnic studies means an interdisciplinary enterprise, which acknowledges that race and ethnicity are social and cultural forces in the United States and around the world." The new bill calls for the development of curriculum standards "within the existing history, social studies or civics curriculum or another appropriate subject-matter curriculum." The testimony of each ethnic studies professor entered into the public record. In addition, members of the House Committee on Education asked each professor questions concerning ethnic studies and the reasons for including ethnic studies in Kansas' school curriculum.

Once House Bill 2207 leaves the House Committee on Education it will go to the Senate Education Committee; from there it would go to the Senate floor and House floor for passage. Read the bill.

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