Senate Bill 3, which passed last Friday 18-4, is a new political low for the Republican-dominated state Senate. The legislation would expand recently passed restrictions on social studies courses in public grade schools and serves as the latest GOP push to restrict the teaching of critical race theory.
During the regular legislative session that ended in May, Republicans rallied to pass House Bill 3979 and bars teachers from discussing race and current events, as well as from awarding students course credit for social or political advocacy work.
Republicans have used “critical race theory” as a catch-all term for what some see as divisive efforts to address racism and inequity in schools. It represents a new political low in Texas and the cut would eliminate lessons that teach that the Ku Klux Klan and its white supremacist campaign of terror are “morally wrong.” It also mentions that students may no longer be taught about the institution of slavery and the eugenics movement.
Other curriculum requirements dropped as a result of the new measure include studying Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the works of United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez, Susan B. Anthony’s writings about the women’s suffragist movement, and Native American history.
Critics of the Senate Bill 3 say that the state is promoting an “anti-civics” education.
Here's why Governor Abbott added Critical Race Theory to the special session. He doesn't want our kids to learn that White Supremacy is morally wrong.— Jarvis Johnson (@jarvisjohnsontx) July 9, 2021
You read that right.
We must trust our teachers. We must defend the truth in our classrooms. SB3 does the opposite #txlege pic.twitter.com/6JQygv311V
Democractic state Sen. Judith Zaffirini attacked the Senate bill, asking, “How could a teacher possibly discuss slavery, the Holocaust, or the mass shootings at the Walmart in El Paso or at the Sutherland Springs church in my district without giving deference to any one perspective?”
On the other end, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick praised the legislation for rejecting “philosophies that espouse that one race or sex is better than another.”
“Parents want their students to learn how to think critically, not be indoctrinated by the ridiculous leftist narrative that America and our Constitution are rooted in racism,” Patrick added in a statement.
The legislation must next be considered in the House, which is also led by Republicans. The House currently lacks the quorum required for any vote, which was due to Democrats fleeing the state earlier this month in an attempt to block a new restrictive voting bill.