Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill on Tuesday that prescribes how K-12 public schools can discuss race, effectively banning the teaching of critical race theory.
Though the term “critical race theory” was not directly mentioned in House Bill 3979, its wording resembles similar bills in other states that have sought to remove the controversial teaching from public schools.
The legislation states schools cannot teach that “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 says schools cannot teach that “an individual, by virtue of the individual ’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”
In addition, the legislation specifically bans the use of The 1619 Project, a controversial curriculum “that examines the history of slavery and race relations in the United States, and argues that what happened in 1619 has greatly affected the United States history and present day,” according to The Hill. Historians criticized the New York Times project for its “errors and distortions.”
Opponents to the new Texas law claim the bill is politically motivated.
“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,” the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers said in a May statement, according to the Texas Tribune.
“The bill is part of a national movement by conservatives trying to sow a narrative of students being indoctrinated by teachers. Our members rightfully have expressed outrage against this insult of their professionalism to provide balanced conversations with students on controversial issues,” it added.
Texas joins a number of states that have passed similar legislation or are considering it.
In May, Tennessee joined a growing list of states in banning the theory.
Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed legislation that bars public schools from teaching divisive propaganda that effectively claims one group is inherently racist and that the United States is fundamentally, irredeemably racist and sexist.
These beliefs are the basic tenets of critical race theory, which labels all white people as racist and privileged and suggests that all black people are helpless victims because the U.S. is “systemically racist,” critics of the concept say.
Last week, three GOP senators introduced a resolution to condemn critical race theory in K-12 public education, arguing the controversial view “has no place in American schools.”
Florida Sen. Rick Scott, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Indiana Sen. Mike Braun presented Senate Resolution 246 to push back against liberals who are working to include critical race theory in public schools.
The summary of the resolution says, “Expressing the sense of the Senate that Critical Race Theory serves as a prejudicial ideological tool, rather than an educational tool, and should not be taught in K–12 classrooms as a way to teach students to judge individuals based on sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.”
Scott said in a statement from the three legislators, “Since America’s founding, our nation has strived to be a land of opportunity for all. While we cannot ignore the scars of our past, we also cannot tolerate the attempts of the woke left to weaponize our history in radical curriculums that teach our children to see America only for its worst days, and the American people only for their darkest hours.”
I won’t allow woke liberals to divide Americans with Critical Race Theory. Our students deserve better. I’m proud to be joined by @MarshaBlackburn & @SenatorBraun in standing up against this dangerous policy: https://t.co/qUhGGzqTQ2
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) June 7, 2021
He added, “The far-left wants Americans to believe that our nation is inherently racist and bad. They want to discredit the values America was founded on. They’re wrong.
“We can’t stand by and allow ’woke’ liberals to divide our nation. Students in Florida and every state across this nation deserve better and I’m proud to lead my colleagues today in a resolution to stand up against this dangerous policy.”
Blackburn said, “Critical race theory has no place in American schools. The tenets of critical race theory are based in the destructive ideal of inherent racism and will teach our children to judge and self-segregate based solely on skin color.
“In Tennessee, we believe in equality and opportunity for all. Students should not be discriminated against on the basis of race under any circumstances. This resolution is an important step to prevent the far left from pushing their radical political agenda in our classrooms.”
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