The Texas Senate acted Saturday to approve a bill banning critical race theory from public schools and open-enrollment charter schools in the state.
The bill, which had originated in the Texas House, now returns to that chamber for final approval, or further changes that the House and Senate can work out.
“Parents are complaining about it. They’re concerned about it, and that’s why we’re here,” Republican Sen. Bryan Hughes said, according to KXAS-TV.
The adapted version of House Bill 3979 specifically bans the teaching of the 1619 Project, which is a curriculum developed by The New York Times as a spinoff of its series that claimed all American history was rooted in slavery and that the true story of American began in 1619 with the arrival of the first slaves from Africa.
“To suggest that America is so racist at its core to be irredeemable and to suggest that people based on the color of their skin can never overcome biases and can never treat each other fairly, that’s a real problem,” Hughes said of the 1619 Project, according to The Texas Tribune.
Georgina Perez, a member of the Texas Board of Education, attacked those supporting the legislation.
“They have no idea what critical race theory is, what it does, who the founders are. They’ve never read a book, much less a paragraph on it,” she said.
The legislation says teachers cannot be forced to inject current events into classes, and cannot pick one side of an issue to discuss.
“We do have teaching now that we want to get out that one race or sex is inherently superior to another, or the individual by virtue of the individual’s race or sex is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,” Hughes said. “I think we agree we don’t want that taught in schools. That’s why we need this bill.”
Hughes said some response was necessary.
“If we don’t respond to these horrible things, if we don’t respond to these with these American ideas that we all aspire to, if we abandon those and we go to this level, we can’t imagine how bad, how bad that will be for these children and for the future of our country,” KXAS reported.
Republican Sen. Brandon Creighton of Texas, said schools should emphasize “traditional history, focusing on the ideas that make our country great and the story of how our country has risen to meet those ideals,” according to The Tribune.
Passage of the bill was celebrated by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
“Texans roundly reject the ‘woke’ philosophies that espouse that one race or sex is better than another and that someone, by virtue of their race or sex, is innately racist, oppressive or sexist,” the Republican said in a statement.
“These abhorrent concepts have erupted in our culture in an effort to divide us. Unfortunately, they are cropping up in Texas classrooms, even in elementary schools.”
“House Bill 3979 makes certain that critical race philosophies, including the 1619 founding myth, are removed from our school curriculums statewide. When parents send their children to school, they want their students to learn critical thinking without being indoctrinated with misinformation charging that America and our Constitution are rooted in racism,” he said.
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