Texas’s Republican-dominated Senate has passed a bill that drops the requirement to teach that the Ku Klux Klan and its white supremacist mission are morally wrong.
Senate Bill 3, which passed 18-4 Friday (July 16), cuts two dozen curriculum requirements for public schools, which include most mentions of people of color or women’s civil rights movements, HuffPost reports.
Regarding the Ku Klux Klan, the measure eliminates a requirement that students be taught 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 wrong."
The measure also cuts studying Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Susan B. Anthony’s writings about the women’s suffragist movement, the works of United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez, and Native American history.
Last month, the Texas state legislature passed House Bill 3979, a restrictive education law that forbids teachers from discussing certain viewpoints in the classroom, including the concept that some people are “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.” Both House Bill 3979 and Senate Bill 3 were passed as part of nationwide Republican efforts targeting “critical race theory.”
Senate Bill 3 also echoes language from House Bill 3979, which bars teachers from requiring students to develop “an understanding” of the 1619 Project, and retains a requirement that teachers cannot be forced to discuss “controversial issue[s] of public policy or social affairs” and that if they do, they can’t give “deference to any one perspective.”
Critics have said that the measure is promoting an “anti-civics” education. Democratic state Sen. Judith Zaffirini called the clause regarding teachers an attempt to “tie [their] hands.”
“How could a teacher possibly discuss slavery, the Holocaust, or the mass shootings at the Walmart in El Paso or at the Sutherland Springs church in my district without giving deference to any one perspective?” she said to Dallas Morning News.
The legislation has to pass the Texas House next, which is also majority-Republican. The House currently lacks enough members to have a vote, after 51 Democratic lawmakers fled the state on July 12 to block a restrictive voting bill.