On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Texas schools.
House Bill 3979 does not explicitly use the term “critical race theory,” but it does dictate how the State Board of Education should frame the American history curriculum. The law goes into effect September 1 in time for the upcoming school year.
The wording of the legislation reads in part that schools are prohibited from teaching “an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual ’s race or sex.”
The bill also includes directives regarding the teaching of any part of the 1619 Project, a proposal published by the New York Times that purports to investigate the history of slavery and race relations.
Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, signed a bill Tuesday directing state teachers how to discuss current events and America’s history of racism in the classroom, according to the Texas Tribune. https://t.co/CRzdXH0i7V
— Newsmax (@newsmax) June 16, 2021
Texas Educators And Elected Officials React
Groups representing both teachers and education groups pleaded with Gov. Abbott not to sign the bill into law, saying that, “it would have a chilling effect on social studies classrooms — particularly in teaching current events — and stymie districts’ work to address racism and equity in schools.”
Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association also said, “This will stifle the teaching of huge, important facts about history, which still affect much of our life today. Teachers and students need and deserve the whole truth about our history, our culture and what our problems are.”
Rep. Steve Toth, the author of the bill, stated to his House colleagues that the bill was necessary “at a time when racial tensions are at a boiling point” and that “we don’t need to burden our kids with guilt for racial crimes they had nothing to do with.”
Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa says the new legislation may interfere with ongoing district-wide teacher training on cultural competency. He added that “every teacher will be terrified that someone is going to be recording them and turn them into the ‘racial police.’”
States that have banned or are restricting critical race theory:
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 16, 2021
More States Ban Critical Race Theory
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis became one of the most recent Governors to ban critical race theory in their state.
It has been in mostly red states where the teaching of CRT has been banned, and that is causing many Republican strategists to do some thinking about the 2022 midterm elections.
As it related to electoral politics, Republicans are hoping they can tie critical race theory to Democrats, who insist that rampant racism exists in the U.S.
As Democrats defend CRT, and more parents find out what exactly it is, it could energize a GOP base of parents who don’t want their kids anywhere near a classroom where CRT is being taught.
“The specific references by Republicans to banning Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project make it clear that they want this to be a wedge issue for state and local political races,” said the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. https://t.co/qdZbGhli3M
— Neelam (@neelambohratx) June 16, 2021
Parents Are Beginning To Push Back
As lawmakers at both the state and federal levels push back on the teaching of CRT, local school boards are beginning to feel huge pushback from parents, black and white, who are educating themselves as to what critical race theory really is.
Recently, in Guilford, Connecticut, parents circulated a petition that states they want their children to learn “without the titles of racist and victim.”
In Greenwich, Connecticut, parents lined up for the microphone at a recent school board meeting, asking the board why their seventh graders were bringing home a “white bias survey.” According to the New York Post, Board members tolerated the parents but clearly had no intentions of responding to questions.
And in now-infamous Loudon County, Virginia, Ian Prior, the father of a second grader there, founded the group called “Fight For Schools.”
The group is spearheading an effort to recall six members of the Loudon County School Board. Parents believe that, while the Board members are to be non-partisan, they are pushing their own political agendas with no regard to the wishes of parents.
Ian Prior .@iandprior gives concluding speech in star studded list of celebrity speeches at rally with 500 residents and parents today . “I have an army of angry moms and they are on the move to recall 6 of 9 school board members” pic.twitter.com/UW9SgIIkdz
— Hon. Eugene Delgaudio (@eugenedelgaudio) June 12, 2021
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Author: Becky Noble
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