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Bill to Ban Critical Race Theory from Texas Classrooms Passes House Committee

One Texas school district hired a diversity and inclusion consultant to potentially tweak teaching practices in the wake of the George Floyd protests. Two bills in the Texas legislature, one recently passed out of committee, would halt this plan.

State Reps. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) and James White (R-Hillister) are each carrying an identical duplicate of the bill, though the Public Education Committee of the Texas House only passed Toth’s. White’s twin never received a hearing.

The bill tackles a number of educational tactics feared by some Republicans to be nascent trends in the classroom, such as “action civics,” overly political curriculums, and a strain of sociological thought which organizes racism through structural rather than interpersonal terms, translated from academia to popular literacy by bestselling writers such as Ibram X. Kendi and commonly called “critical race theory.”

Specifically, the bill would adjust three key areas of education: the state curriculum, classroom education, and training for teachers and other employees.

It would require the State Board of Education to include an understanding of the country’s founding documents in the state curriculum standards, as well as an understanding of “the fundamental moral, political, and intellectual foundations of the American experiment in self-government.”

On top of barring teachers from asking students to engage in political activism, the bill would also forbid teachers from promoting racial preferences or concepts like inherent racism and racial guilt. It bans similar ways of teaching with regards to gender, such as fostering guilt on account of sex, teaching inherent or unconscious sexism, and encouraging worse treatment for one sex over another.

Lastly, it would forbid “training, orientation, or therapy that presents any form of race or sex stereotyping or blame on the basis of race or sex” for school employees.

“Action civics” is a name popularly given to teaching styles that encourage or require political activism. Proponents call it a hands-on approach that teaches children the political process more thoroughly than traditional books and blackboards. Critics say it skews to the left.

Massachusetts and Illinois have already implemented versions of this educational approach. Action civics proposals in the Texas legislature include SB 1740 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), which would have students participate in ...