A new education bill focused on history and social studies put forth by Republican members of the Texas state senate strips language from the legislation that would require lessons on the legacy and work of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and Susan B. Anthony.
The senate bill also removes a requirement that curriculum include “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.” Those lessons were included in a version of the bill going through the Texas state house.
However, the legislation from both chambers includes language that seems to be targeted at blocking elements of Critical Race Theory, which is not actually talked in elementary or high schools in the United States. It also bars any lessons based leading to “an understanding of the 1619 Project,” which detailed the history of slavery in the United States.
The legislation bans teaching that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions …an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race or sex; …meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race; …the advent of slavery in the territory that is now the United States constituted the true founding of the United States; or …with respect to their relationship to American values, 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[.]”
While both the state senate and house versions of the bill encourage teaching a critical view of news reports, it notes that teachers are not compelled to teach current events.
The senate bill strips requirements to teach about the US labor movement, the Chicano civil rights movement, and any writing from women or Black writers or historical figures, although it does require students review the writings of the founding fathers and Alexis de Tocqueville ’s Democracy in America.