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Texas passes bill banning schools from requiring teaching critical race theory

The Texas Senate on Saturday passed legislation that would ban schools from requiring staff to discuss or teach critical race theory. 

The legislation passed the state's lower chamber on May 11, but the state House will have to approve it again after changes were made in the state Senate, according to KXAN

Critical race theory holds that racism is systemic and has been present in institutions, including the law, the economy and schooling, since the nation's founding.

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"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," Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said about the passage of the bill.

"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," he added.

The bill requires teachers who talk about race relations and how they shaped history to look at viewpoints "from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective."

However, critics, including Democrats and education advocates, say the bill is a step in the wrong direction. 

By telling teachers what and how to teach and ordering TEA to play police, HB 3979 may be one of the most disrespectful bills to teachers I've seen the #txlege dignify with debate,” Mark Wiggins, a lobbyist for The Association of Professional Educators, tweeted. 

Similar bills have cropped up in legislatures around the country. 

And on Wednesday, 20 state attorneys general sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaLocal leaders build pressure on Biden to cancel student loans COVID relief vital to successful reopening of schools Judge ruling upholds Connecticut school mask mandate MORE stating that they oppose teaching critical race theory in classrooms. 

“The proposed priorities are a thinly veiled attempt at bringing into our states’ classrooms the deeply flawed and controversial teachings of Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project,” the letter states.