Texas House Passes Bill – Prohibits Critical Race Theory

May 11, 2021 by

Theory of mind and hearing loss: Teaching children for social and academic  success

“Texas House Passes Bill – Prohibits Critical Race Theory”

From Donna Garner

5.11.21

Texas HB 3979 states that a teacher cannot “require or make part of a course” a series of race-related concepts, including the ideas that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex,” or that someone is “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive” based on their race or sex.

“House Bill 3979 is about teaching racial harmony by telling the truth that we are all equal, both in God’s eyes and our founding documents,” said bill author state Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands. 

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HB 3979 passed to engrossment as amended in the Texas House on 5.11.21.  The record vote is not available yet.  Here are the Texas legislators who authored and who co-authored HB 3979.  The primary author is Rep. Steve Toth:

Author: Toth, Leach, Metcal, Bonne, Parker

Companion:SB 2202 by Creighton, Identical
HB 4093 by White, Duplicate

Link to text, actions, bill stages, etc. https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=87R&Bill=HB3979

Link to House Research Organization Bill Analysis: https://hro.house.texas.gov/pdf/ba87r/hb3979.pdf#navpanes=0

Excerpts from the House Committee Report —  https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=87R&Bill=HB3979

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE

Concerns have been raised relating to social studies curriculum in Texas public schools and these concerns have resulted in calls to build a curriculum that fosters a student’s understanding of the fundamental moral, political, and intellectual foundations of the American experiment in self‑government.

There are additional calls to prohibit a teacher from being compelled to discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs and to prohibit a teacher, administrator, or other employee of a state agency, school district, or open-enrollment charter school from, among other things, being required to engage in training, orientation, or therapy that presents any form of race or sex stereotyping or blame on the basis of race or sex.

C.S.H.B. 3979 seeks to address these and other concerns by providing for the development of students’ civic knowledge in Texas social studies curriculum standards.

ANALYSIS

C.S.H.B. 3979 amends the Education Code to require the State Board of Education (SBOE), in adopting state social studies curriculum standards, to adopt essential knowledge and skills that develop each student’s civic knowledge, including an understanding of the following:

  • the fundamental moral, political, and intellectual foundations of the American experiment in self-government;
  • the history, qualities, traditions, and features of civic engagement in the United States;
  • the structure, function, and processes of government institutions at the federal, state, and local levels; and
  • the founding documents of the United States, including the following:
    • the Declaration of Independence;
    • the U.S. Constitution;
    • the Federalist Papers, including Essays 10 and 51;
    • excerpts from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America;
    • the transcript of the first Lincoln-Douglas Debate; and
    • the writings of the founding fathers of the United States.

The bill requires the SBOE to review and revise, as needed, the curriculum standards not later than December 31, 2022. The bill’s provisions relating to the adoption of state curriculum standards apply beginning with the 2022-2023 school year.

Excerpts from the Analysis:

    C.S.H.B. 3979 amends the Education Code to require the State Board of Education (SBOE), in adopting state social studies curriculum standards, to adopt essential knowledge and skills that develop each student’s civic knowledge, including an understanding of the following: the fundamental moral, political, and intellectual foundations of the American experiment in self-government; the history, qualities, traditions, and features of civic engagement in the United States; the structure, function, and processes of government institutions at the federal, state, and local levels; and the founding documents of the United States, including the following: the Declaration of Independence; the U.S. Constitution; the Federalist Papers, including Essays 10 and 51; excerpts from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America; the transcript of the first Lincoln-Douglas Debate; and the writings of the founding fathers of the United States. The bill requires the SBOE to review and revise, as needed, the curriculum standards not later than December 31, 2022. The bill’s provisions relating to the adoption of state curriculum standards apply beginning with the 2022-2023 school year.   C.S.H.B. 3979, with respect to courses in the social studies curriculum in Texas history, United States history, world history, government, civics, social studies, or similar subject areas, does the following: prohibits a state agency, public school district, or open-enrollment charter school from accepting private funding for the purpose of developing a curriculum, purchasing or selecting curriculum materials, or providing teacher training or professional development for such a course; prohibits a teacher from being compelled to discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs; requires a teacher who chooses to discuss such events or issues, to the best of the teacher’s ability, to strive to explore those topics from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective; prohibits a district, charter school, or teacher from requiring, making part of a course, or awarding a grade or course credit for the following: a student’s work for, affiliation with, or service learning in association with any organization engaged in lobbying for legislation at the federal, state, or local level or in social or public policy advocacy; a student’s political activism, lobbying, or efforts to persuade members of the legislative or executive branch to take specific actions by direct communication at the federal, state, or local level; or a student’s participation in any practicum or similar activity involving social or public policy advocacy; prohibits an employee of a state agency, district, or charter school from being required to engage in training, orientation, or therapy that presents any form of race or sex stereotyping or blame on the basis of race or sex; and prohibits an employee of a state agency, district, or charter school from requiring or making part of a course the following concepts: one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex; members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex; an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by the individual’s race or sex; an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race or sex; or meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race.
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