Texas Governor Signs Bill Restricting Educators From Teaching Systemic Racism And 'Critical Race Theory'
The controversial bill places limits on how racism is taught in public schools in Texas.
June 17, 2021 at 3:42 pm
As Juneteenth becomes a national holiday, educators may not be allowed to talk about the impact of racism in the classrooms in the state of Texas.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a controversial bill that places limits on how educators teach the history of systemic racism. The legislation titled House Bill 3979, outlaws “critical race theory” in public schools in Texas from K-12. The bill also prohibits teachers from discussing certain perspectives in the classroom, including the concept that some people are “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
If any social issue or public policy is discussed, the prerequisite now is to present the topic “without giving deference to any one perspective.”
Texas is among a growing list of conservative states that have enacted legislation that seeks to control how teachers discuss current events and the role that racism plays in everyday life.
The bill and others like it follow recent criticism of the 1619 Project, a report that examines U.S. history from the moment that enslaved people were brought to America, which has become a favorite target of Republican lawmakers and conservatives.
“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,” Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers in a statement read.
Supporters of the bill argue that it combats personal biases from seeping into public education.
“House Bill 3979 is a strong move to abolish critical race theory in Texas, but more must be done,” Abbott said in a statement.
The bill also ends the practice of students receiving credit for being involved in civic activities in the state.
“We’ll have principals in conservative communities who don’t want a backlash and will put in place blanket expectations of ‘Don’t talk about anything controversial in your classroom,” Renee Blackmon, president of the Texas Council for Social Studies, said. “That way they’ll feel like they’re safe from community reproach — and then teachers are on eggshells.”
While the bill has been signed, educators who desire a more inclusive model of teaching have vehemently opposed the measure. Opponents say that the bill will erode honest conversations about the history and impact of systematic racism.
“This will stifle the teaching of huge, important facts about history, which still affect much of our life today,” Clay Robison of the Texas State Teachers Association argued. “Teachers and students need and deserve the whole truth about our history, our culture, and what our problems are.”