Texas bill to censor student classrooms sent to Senate
The way teachers discuss certain topics is likely to change
AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday passed Bill HB 3979 as part of Texas elected leaders’ latest efforts to censor public school teachers and politicize children’s education, said today Carisa Lopez, political director of the Texas Freedom Network.
“This bill is an exercise in historic revisionism at its worst,” Lopez said. “Denying the realities of the past in our schools might serve the partisan political goals of Republican lawmakers, but it’s much more difficult for students to understand the roots of the real challenges they inherit. We need schools to ensure that students are fully informed and engaged citizens who play an active role in making our nation fairer and more equitable for all. This bill rejects education in favor of playing shameful political games with history.
The House’s adoption of HB 3979 sends the bill to the Senate, which has already passed a companion bill, SB 2202.
HB3979 / SB2202 would censor what public schools teach about the history of racism and sexism and how history influences current events. The House bill would force schools to teach that slavery and racism were a “deviation” in American history, ignoring that they were enshrined in the Constitution and state laws for most of the two. first centuries of the American Republic.
“Politicians shouldn’t be monitoring classrooms and censoring what students learn about the real experiences of people of color and women,” Lopez said. “We can’t really tackle the challenges we still face today – like racism and inequality – if we’re not honest with students about the history and root causes of those challenges.
The bill would require students to educate themselves on “the fundamental moral, political and intellectual foundations of the American experience of self-government.” But Republicans on Monday rejected an amendment to the bill that would have required students to learn that the Jan. 6 seizure of Capitol Hill, which was the worst attack on “America’s self-government experiment” since the Civil War, was “a moral stain on American History.”
HB 3979 also censors the way teachers discuss current events and topics politicians consider too controversial for classrooms. The bill prevents schools from encouraging students to engage civically on issues they deem important.
“Public schools should encourage students to learn more about current events and get involved with organizations working in their communities,” Lopez said. “It’s healthy for our state and our democracy. But Republican politicians who worked to make it harder for young people to vote are now trying to make it harder for schools to encourage them to become civically engaged. Bills like this are a big step backwards. “
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