AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate on Saturday passed House Bill 3979, better known as the “critical race theory bill.”
The bill, if it were to become law, would principally affect social studies and history teachers and mandates that lessons involving controversial or hotly debated topics must be discussed in a manner that examines different perspectives and doesn’t favor any one race or gender.
For instance, topics including white privilege or the gender pay gap could be off limits.
Critical race theory has been defined as a movement that posits that race is primarily a social construct that is used to oppress and exploit people of color.
Critics of the bill have suggested that it would make teachers fearful of broaching difficult topics with their students.
“It’s anti-democracy. It’s anti-inclusive of voices. It’s anti-student voice. It’s anti-teacher voice,” Amber Sims, co-founder of Young Leaders, Strong City, recently told Spectrum News 1.
Young Leaders, Strong City is a group comprised of high school students devoted to promoting racial justice and equity.
"What we’ve heard from students over and over again is that they’re not having these conversations in schools. They’re not allowed to talk about race, or they don’t feel comfortable. If they do, the conversations are cut short because the teachers don’t feel comfortable,’ Sims continued.
Proponents, including Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, applauded the passage as a major win. Patrick released the following statement:
“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.
“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.
“I congratulate Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, and Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, for bringing this legislation and Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, for his leadership during the long debate on this issue late last night and this morning.”
The revised version of HB 3979 will now go back to the House floor.