A plan to make lessons in Arabic and Arab culture mandatory for students in some Texas schools has been put on hold, following feedback from parents.
Two Schools in the Mansfield Independent School District planned to incorporate Arabic and Arab culture into every aspect of their curriculum. Students in two other schools in the district would have had the option to pursue similar studies.
The district was awarded a $1.3 million grant by the Department of Education last summer as part of the Foreign Language Assistance Program. The Department of Education has identified Arabic, along with Mandarin, as "languages of the future" and the school district said that "students will be at an advantage in an increasingly diverse and economically global society."
Some parents expressed concern at a meeting that took place on Monday night, saying that they had not been made aware of the proposals earlier.
"It's a porterhouse steak that's been served up on a trashcan lid," said parent Mark Henderson. "We love the idea; we just want to be sure we're involved in its development."
Some parents had concerns that Islam would be included in the curriculum, but an official stressed that the curriculum would not be about religion, but about Arabic language and culture.
Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect the school district's multiple statements on the story. Planned classes at some schools were initially described as mandatory, but subsequently the district said that there would be no mandatory classes and put the plan on hold.
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