Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law a bill aimed at cracking down on teaching Critical Race Theory in Texas school curriculums.
Although the law does not mention critical race theory by name, it is aimed at prohibiting schools and teachers from requiring that their students learn the concepts involved in Critical Race Theory.
The bill outlines requirements for how the state board of education should present its history curriculum.
Teachers may not require students to learn certain concepts related to critical race theory, including that one race or sex is “inherently superior” to another, that an individual is “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously” due to his race, or that an individual bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.
Other banned concepts include that a meritocracy or traits like a hard work ethic are racist or sexist or were created by one race to oppress another race, that slavery in the U.S. constitutes the true founding of the country, or that slavery and racism are anything other than “deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to, the authentic founding principles of the United States, which include liberty and equality.”
Educators may also not require students to study the 1619 Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning project published by The New York Times Magazine that says it “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”
The bill also mandates that students learn “the history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong.”
A list of essential historical texts are offered in the bill, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and “I Have a Dream” speech, Frederic Douglass’s writings, and documents related to women’s suffrage and the history of Native American marginalization. The U.S. founding documents are also listed.
The law also prohibits requiring teachers to discuss currently controversial and widely debated public policy or social affairs, and teachers who choose to do so must discuss the subject from “diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective.”
Educators also may not require students to participate in political activism such as lobbying or internships.
The law goes into effect on the first day of September, right before the school year starts for many students.
Last month, Republican Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick praised the bill, saying it “makes certain that critical race philosophies, including the 1619 founding myth, are removed from our school curriculums statewide.”
“When parents send their children to school, they want their students to learn critical thinking without being indoctrinated with misinformation charging that America and our Constitution are rooted in racism,” Patrick said.
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