The Texas Senate has taken a step closer to an Orwellian dystopia with its new education bill.
As reported by the Texas Tribune, Texas lawmakers have introduced at least three bills that aim to undermine the way racism, current events, and the country’s founding principles are taught in K-12 schools.
That includes a Senate bill that would eliminate upcoming requirements that students learn that white supremacy is “morally wrong” and study the particular writings of women and people of color.
The weeks-long efforts by lawmakers had their legislative session last Thursday after Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill from this year’s regular legislative session that restricts how current events and the history of racism in America can be taught in Texas schools.
It is commonly referred to as the “critical race theory” bill, although the term “critical race theory” never appears in it, the media outlet explained.
In signing it, Abbott said “more must be done” to “abolish critical race theory in Texas” and later put the issue on the special session agenda.
The SB 3, introduced by state Sen. Bryan Hughes on Friday, removes most of the mentions of women and people of color in that section: more than two dozen requirements that include Native American history, the work of civil rights activists Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, historical documents related to the Chicano movement and women’s suffrage, and the writings of Martin Luther King Jr, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass.
This dangerous legislative development is part of an effort by several Republican states, who have proposed legislation to limit the teaching of concepts such as racial equity and white privilege.
“Any anti-racist effort is being labeled as critical race theory,” said Jonathan Chism, assistant professor of history at the University of Houston-Downtown and co-editor of “Critical Race Studies Across Disciplines,” to NBC News.
“Many that are condemning critical race theory haven’t read it or studied it intensely. This is largely predicated on fear: the fear of losing power and influence and privilege,” he said. “The larger issue that this is all stemming from is a desire to deny the truth about America, about racism.”
In some states, lawmakers have also sought to limit teachers’ ability to make references to The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Project 1619, which argues that the introduction of slavery marks the true beginning of the nation. In the wake of the project’s publication, Chicago Public Schools officials announced that the school system would use the project in classrooms. Schools in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., followed suit, noting the importance of highlighting how America’s past has influenced the present.
Meanwhile, the future of education in Republican states increasingly resembles a chapter from a Philip K. Dick book.