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A more restrictive law designed to keep “critical race theory” out of Texas public schools became law on Thursday.
Under the new law, a “teacher cannot be compelled to discuss a widely debated and currently controversial public policy or social affairs issue”. The law does not define what a controversial issue is. If a teacher discusses these topics, he or she should “explore this topic objectively and without political bias.”
It also requires that at least one teacher and one campus administrator in each school district complete a civic education program that will teach educators how race and racism should be taught in schools in Texas.
There are over 1,200 school districts in Texas. The development and implementation cost the training program alone would cost about $ 14.6 million per year, according to the Legislative Budget Board.
Senate Bill 3, adopted at the Second Special Session of the Texas Legislature ending September 2, replaces Bill 3979, which Governor Greg Abbott signed over the summer. At the time, Abbott said more needed to be done to “abolish” critical race theory in Texas classrooms, and lawmakers set to work to craft a more restrictive measure. The result was SB 3.
“It’s not just about what a teacher can or can’t say,” said Chloe Latham Sikes, deputy director of policy at the Intercultural Development Research Association. “It’s also the way they organize their classroom, how they design the classroom – how they might address really sensitive issues of race, gender, identity and sexism in their classrooms.”
Critical Race Theory is the idea that racism is ingrained in legal systems and is not confined to individuals. It is an academic discipline taught at the university level. But it has become a common phrase used by conservatives to include anything race-related taught or discussed in public high schools.
The new civic education mandated by the new law that requires the presence of at least one teacher and one campus administrator from each district will be created by the Texas Education Agency and must be implemented by the 2025 school year at the latest. -2026.
The national education agency has yet to reveal what this civic training program will look like. The law also requires the TEA to establish an advisory board for the training program.
The earlier attempt for a law to restrict what is taught in schools has caused so much confusion among educators that a North Texas Administrator informed teachers at a training session in October that they were to provide material presenting an “opposing” perspective on the Holocaust.
In documents obtained by The Texas Tribune, the TEA advised school administrators that teachers should simply continue teaching the current curriculum until the State Board of Education reviews the social studies curriculum within the next year. .
The new law also focused on the New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project, a collection of essays focusing on how slavery and the contributions of black Americans shaped the United States. With this law, students cannot be compelled to read the essays of Project 1619. It also prohibits students from receiving credits for having worked as a volunteer in a political campaign or for having completed an internship in companies or organizations where they will lobby. In addition, any school district that uses an online portal to assign learning materials must provide access to parents.
“This is all really about removing all recognition of the importance of sex, race, gender and silencing those conversations, which ultimately hurt students of color and students in the community. LGBTQ, ”Sikes said.
Disclosure: The New York Times has financially supported The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, non-partisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial support plays no role in the journalism of the Tribune. Find a full list of them here.