Texas Senate rejects reference to KKK in Critical Race Theory Bill
Texas Senate Passed Bill which would limit the teaching of certain subjects, especially those that revolve around race and racism. the The agenda item was one of 11 pieces of legislation Governor Greg Abbott noted when he called for a special session beginning of July.
Senate Bill 3 states that a “teacher may not be compelled to discuss a particular current event or a widely debated and currently controversial public policy or social affairs issue.”
The bill follows an already passed House bill that Abbott signed in May. Among the changes to SB 3 is the removal of a reference to the Ku Klux Klan as being “morally wrong” from Bill 3979, which is expected to become law in September.
But with more than 60 House Democrats broke quorum in response to demand for more restrictive election laws, SB 3 is unable to be brought up in the House, leaving its future in limbo.
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Here is what we know about the current law and what the adoption of the new bill would mean.
Texas and the “Critical Race Theory”
The term “critical theory of race” has become a catch-all phrase among lawmakers and experts who have pushed limits on teaching practices relating to race and racism.
Current theory provides a framework for understanding how racial disparities have developed and persist.
The author of HB 3979, Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, told members of the House that critical race theory rejects “the rule of law as a disguise for the selfish interests of a supposed American society. white supremacist “.
“HB 3979 is all about teaching racial harmony by telling the truth that we are all equal, both in the sight of God and in our founding documents,” he added.
Toth proposed amending the bill to require slavery and racism to be depicted as betrayals and deviations from America’s founding principles in classroom instruction.
Meanwhile, SB 3, proposed by Senator Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, exposes this idea while removing references to the KKK.
HB 3979 vs. SB 3: Teaching about slavery and racism with and without white supremacy
The bill passed by the House was amended by the Democrats require instruction to include the following and many more:
- The founding documents of the United States, including the federalist documents and the transcript of the first Lincoln-Douglas debate
- Writings from Frederick Douglass’s diary, The North Star
- The book of negroes
- The runaway slave laws of 1793 and 1850
- The Indian Removal Act
- Letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists
- William Still Underground Railroad Files
HB 3979 would require that “historical documents related to civic achievements of marginalized populations” be taught while SB 3 does not contain such a provision. These documents include:
- Speech “Letter from a Birmingham Prison” and “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King Jr.
- The decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Brown v. Education Council, who established school segregation as unconstitutional
- The Snyder Act of 1924, which granted citizenship to Indigenous peoples or Native Americans
- The Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- The 26th Constitutional Amendment, which set the voting age at 18
- The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision in Mendez v. Westminster, a case of school desegregation outside California and precursor of Brown v. Education Council
- that of Frederick Douglass An Account of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
- The life and work of Cesar Chavez
- The life and work of Dolores Huerta
- “The History and Significance of the Women’s Suffrage Movement” for the Vote, including the Declaration of Sentiments and the Writings of Susan B. Anthony and Abigail Adams
- The life and works of Dr. Hector P. Garcia, civil rights activist in Texas and founder of the GI Forum
- the American IG Forum, who advocated for the rights of Hispanics, especially veterans
- Hernandez v. Texas, a landmark civil rights case ensuring due process for all ethnic and racial groups
- League of United Latin American Citizens, the first Mexican American civil rights organization
HB 3979 would also require teaching “the history of white supremacy, including, but not limited to, the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally reprehensible ”.
The list of SB 3 documents that should be taught is significantly shorter:
- The transcript of the first Lincoln-Douglas debate.
- The Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery.
- The 14th Amendment, which gave former slaves citizenship and the right to vote.
- The 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
- The historical relationship between Texas and Mexico and “the diversity of the Hispanic population in Texas”.
- Some civic skills such as the ability to “determine the reliability of information sources”.
What HB 3979 and SB 3 have in common
References to eugenics and KKK are not included in SB 3, but both bills prohibit discussing these topics:
- That one race or gender is inherently superior to another
- An individual, because of their race or gender, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously
- Moral character of an individual can be determined by race or gender
- An individual is responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of their race or sex
- A person must experience discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress due to their race or gender.
- The values of meritocracy and hard work are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race
- The advent of slavery in the United States formed the true foundation of the nation
- Slavery and Racism Are More Than Deviations, Betrayals, or Failures to Respect “Genuine United States Principles”
Advocates, educators and students have expressed both concern and confusion about what the bill would mean for classrooms.
Certain state legislators and members of the Texas State Board of Education, which oversees the development of curriculum standards for public schools, said that documents not included in SB 3 are not prohibited from teaching. They argue that curriculum standards will be a framework that teachers can expand upon.
Texas House Democrats who broke the quorum blocked the bill from moving forward
So far, the State Senate has given final approval to SB 3 on an 18-4 vote, with nine Democrats absent in Washington to join House Democrats in a protest against the voting bills of the GOP.
However, the House cannot accept SB 3 due to a lack of quorum in the lower house. More than 60 House Democrats remain in Washington, DC, and have not said when they plan to return.