While most of the attention on the special session of the Texas state legislature has been focused on SB1, the bill widely seen as blatant voter-restriction legislation, another damaging bill has just received formal passage by the state Senate.
On Friday, lawmakers passed legislation that would end requirements that public schools include lessons on women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement in social studies curriculums. This would mean teachers would not be required to include the works of people such as Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, the history of Native Americans, and even the writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. in their curriculums.
The bill was passed on a vote of 18 to 4, but like other state legislation, it is stalled because the House doesn’t have a quorum while Democrats remain out of the state. The special session is set to end on Aug. 6.
According to Bloomberg Law, this comes after Texas Governor signed into law a bill banning the teaching of the 1619 project and critical race theory in Texas classrooms.
It would remove more than two dozen teaching requirements from a new law (H.B 3979) that bars the teaching of critical race theory, an academic framework exploring racism’s shaping of the country.
That law included a list of historic figures, events and documents required for inclusion in social studies classes. The Senate-passed bill would remove most mentions of people of color and women from those requirements, along with a requirement that students be taught about the history of white supremacy and “the ways in which it is morally wrong.”
The Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, released a statement after Friday’s vote praising lawmakers, despite the fact many critics including activists and educators say it’s a misguided law.
“Senate Bill 3 will make certain that critical race philosophies including the debunked 1619 founding myth, are removed from our school curriculums statewide.”
“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 said.
The bill also would prohibit teachers from being compelled to talk about current events or controversial issues, instructing those choosing to engage with students to discuss without “giving deference to any one perspective.”