News and Commentary

Texas Senate Bill Would Ban Critical Race Theory In Schools

   DailyWire.com
US and Texas flags flying over Texas State Capitol building, Austin, USA
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A new bill in Texas would make it illegal to teach race or sex-based guilt in public schools.

Senate Bill 2202, currently under review in the House Public Education Committee, seeks to ban the teaching of radical ideology associated with Critical Race Theory in Texas public schools. The bill also mandates a robust academic focus on the founding documents and ideas of America. 

Similar legislation passed last week in Idaho, with additional bills under consideration in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas

While I have my doubts about the ability of any law to effectively counter the ideological cancer that has taken over much of our education system, the language of this bill demonstrates a robust understanding of the destructive ideas it aims to curtail. Rather than denouncing Critical Race Theory by name or even in full, it targets what lawmakers consider to be the most divisive ideological components of the theory, specifically those which can be logically shown to promote discrimination based on race or sex. 

In one remarkable paragraph, the bill details a litany of specific concepts that “no teacher, administrator, or other employee in any state agency … shall require, or make part of a course.”

Those concepts include the following: 

  1. That “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.”
  2. That “any individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive either consciously or unconsciously.” 
  3. That “an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex.”
  4. That “members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex.”
  5. That “an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his race or sex.”
  6. That “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by members of his or her race or sex.”
  7. That “any individual should feel guilt, anguish, or any form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex.”
  8. That “meritocracy or traits such as hard work are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race.”

Additionally, the bill would restrict educators’ ability to bring politics into the classroom, and would prevent schools from compelling teachers to “discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs.” 

The bill also restricts schools’ ability to mandate race-based training for staff that promotes any of the above concepts. According to SB2202, no teacher or administrator “shall be required to engage in training, orientation, or therapy that presents any form of race or sex stereotyping or places any blame on the basis of race or sex.” 

Lastly, the bill also prohibits schools and districts from accepting “private funding for the purpose of developing a curriculum, purchasing or selecting curriculum materials, or providing teacher training or professional development for a course” in any of the following areas of study: “Texas history, United States history, world history, government, civics, social studies, or other similar subjects.”

The first major question is whether this law will be pragmatically enforceable. Ultimately, enforcement of any nondiscrimination legislation requires whistleblowing on the part of teachers, administrators, parents, and even students. In the current climate, that may prove challenging. 

Another challenge is the nature of the content. Critical Race Theory has become popular because it closely mimics legitimate and constructive discussions about racism and equality. Many unwitting educators, parents, and students are unable to confidently discern between the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. and ideas of Marxist origins, like those of Ibram X Kendi. However, the expanded possibility of legal challenges from parents may dissuade schools from flirting with that line. 

A final challenge is that of liberty. This law could be viewed as limiting the academic freedom and freedom of speech for educators (and freedom of religion for followers of the woke faith – though they may not identify as such!). While laws like these may prove to be a bulwark against tyranny in the long term, it is wise to consider the implications of allowing the government to make sweeping decisions about which topics and opinions are off limits in public education. 

Importantly, the bill does not prohibit teaching about racism or even all components of Critical Race Theory. For example, there is no prohibition on teaching about “systemic racism,” or on the claim that a person (of any race) is either “racist or anti-racist,” as argued by Ibram X Kendi. That is because the bill is narrowly focused on nondiscrimination, and does not otherwise restrict discussion of racial issues. 

Crucially, the bill does not curtail or impede educators’ ability to discuss historical events in any way, including Jim Crow, redlining, civil rights movements and more. The language of the bill exclusively and narrowly prohibits educators from presenting specific ideological claims, which stereotype based on color or sex, as fact, which students must then affirm.

If SB 2202 and other bills like it prove to be successful in curtailing divisive political activism in schools, we may begin to see a path forward for liberty-minded states. 

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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