The Texas State Senate passed a bill Saturday banning the state’s schools from mandating that instructors teach critical race theory.
House Bill 3979, which passed the Texas House of Representatives on May 11, will head to Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s desk after the lower chamber approves the Senate’s changes to the legislation, according to local KXAN.
The bill stresses the importance of learning about the founding of the U.S. by referencing original documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers, according to the text of the bill.
Teachers also shall not be compelled by any state agency or school administration “to discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs,” the bill further stipulates, adding that when teachers choose to discuss such topics, they “shall, to the best of their ability, strive to explore such issues from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to anyone perspective[.]”
Though critical race theory is not explicitly named in the bill, it goes on to forbid teaching that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex,” or that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,” as well as the idea that meritocracy and work ethic “are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race.”
“Last nite [sic] & into the morning, Texas Senate debated #CriticalRaceTheory,” Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes said Saturday. “We must teach the truth about our history, & judge others based on the content of character & not the color of skin.”
Last nite & into the morning, Texas Senate debated #CriticalRaceTheory.
We must teach the truth about our history, & judge others based on the content of character & not the color of skin.
Honored to pass #HB3979 on behalf of Sen. @CreightonForTX. #txlege @Toth_4_Texas pic.twitter.com/ojPEXqR0lt
— Senator Bryan Hughes (@SenBryanHughes) May 22, 2021
Republican Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick also praised the bill, saying, “House Bill 3979 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.”
“Texans roundly reject the ‘woke’ philosophies that espouse that one race or sex is better than another and that someone, by virtue of their race or sex, is innately racist, oppressive or sexist,” he added.
As KXAN reported, “Educators opposed to the bill say kids seek out clarity on current events from instructors, who they view as a trusted source of information, and if passed, would stop teachers from pushing their students to think critically about the world.”
“Just the fear of that alone is going to prevent teachers from really delving into a lot of these topics,” Round Rock ISD Instructional Coach Meghan Dougherty told the outlet. “It’s not that teachers are trying to indoctrinate students, it’s that they are trying to help students understand these issues, help them understand the different perspectives and facilitate positive, productive conversations in the classroom around these issues.”
Mark Wiggins, a lobbyist for The Association of Professional Educators, also opposed the bill, tweeting, “By telling teachers what and how to teach and ordering the [Texas Education Agency] to play police, HB 3979 may be one of the most disrespectful bills to teachers I’ve seen the [Texas Legislature] dignify with debate. Teachers will remember come November.”
By telling teachers what and how to teach and ordering TEA to play police, HB 3979 may be one of the most disrespectful bills to teachers I've seen the #txlege dignify with debate.
— Mark Wiggins (@MarkWigginsTX) May 22, 2021