[WATCH] TX GOP Ramps Up Efforts to Restrict Critical Race Theory From Being Taught In School
After hours of passionate debate about how Texas teachers can instruct school children about America’s history of subjugating people of color, the Texas State Senate early Saturday morning advanced a new version of a controversial bill aimed at banning critical race theory in public and open-enrollment charter schools.
The reworked version of the bill also requires the State Board of Education to develop new state standards for civics education with a corresponding teacher training program to start in the 2022-23 school year. The Senate approved the bill in an 18-13 vote over opposition from educators, school advocacy groups, and senators of color who worry it limits necessary conversation about the roles race and racism play in U.S. history.
The Senate-approved version revives specific essential curriculum standards that students are required to understand, including the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers. But it stripped more than two dozen requirements to study the writings or stories of multiple women and people of color that were also previously approved by the House, despite attempts by Democratic senators to reinstate some of those materials in the bill.
The complaints about the 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory are not about academics, it is about power — who has the power to shape the narrative of what America means? Which perspectives get mainstream acceptance and which are moved to the fringe?
— Marcus H. Johnson (@marcushjohnson) May 19, 2021
The Senate did vote to include the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, the 13th 14th,
and 19th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and the complexity of the relationship between Texas and Mexico to the list of required instruction.
— Katy Tur Reports (@KatyOnMSNBC) May 19, 2021
But the most controversial aspects of the bill remain, including that teachers must explore current events from multiple positions without giving “deference to any one perspective.” It also bars students from getting course credit for civic engagement efforts, including lobbying for legislation or other types of political activism.
In the dead of night, the Texas Senate passed a bill that will effectively ban public school teachers from talking about racism, white supremacy or current events.
It already passed the House. On its way to be signed into law now. https://t.co/fUFNeHVQP0
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) May 22, 2021
Educators, historians, and school advocacy groups who fiercely oppose the bill remained unswayed by arguments that the bill is merely meant to ensure students are taught that one race or gender is not superior to another.
I did. It’s designed to silence critical race theory, which points out the obvious fact that historically, white Americans oppressed others and that society still has issues because of it. The bill bans teaching certain facts because they make white supremacists uncomfortable.
— Thor Melsted (@ThorMelsted) May 23, 2021
The Texas Senate vote and Critical Race Theory were discussed on MSNBC on Sunday morning. Watch the full segment, below.