Texas Senate passes invoice that might result in civil rights discourse | Native Information

The Texas Senate passed bill that removes specific requirements for teaching civil rights, including two historic speeches by Martin Luther King Jr.

By 18: 4 on Friday, the Senate removed specific mentions of King, farm workers organizers Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, and President Thomas Jefferson’s longstanding relationship with his slave, Sally Hemmings, who bore him six children.

In addition, the Senate Act also meets this requirement: “The history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the manner in which it is morally wrong is.”

During the public testimony, Senator Bryan Hughes, the author of the primary bill, said the revisions will not limit teaching on these subjects but will leave decisions to the state education committee. Hughes admitted that removing previous requirements is confusing. State Sen. Bob Hall co-authored the bill.

Carrie Griffith, who spoke during a State Affairs Committee meeting Friday, told Senators that the law could cause teachers to leave the classroom. Texas leaves about 10% of its teachers every year – more than 30,000 a year.

“There is concern that this is making things worse,” said Griffith, a policy analyst with the Texas State Teachers Association.

The bill contains some specific guidelines, particularly for teaching about racial history.

Keven Ellis, chairman of the state education committee and Hunt County representative, said specific reading lists, historical figure studies, and legal proceedings remain on the state curriculum.

“It is not being taken as a signal to address these issues,” said Ellis, who was appointed chairman by Governor Greg Abbott. “One of the strikethroughs in the bills is Native American teaching. As you probably know, the Texas State Board of Education was the first state to offer a stand-alone Mexican-American course to its students. We offered a study of African Americans. We were the first state to do that.

“We asked for additional ethnic studies.”

Texas students have social science requirements, defined by the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, that cover specifics related to the civil rights movement and slavery in America.

State Board member Pat Hardy joined Ellis to discuss the bill. Hardy, however, targeted the New York Times’ 1619 Project – a revisionist history of the United States that reinterprets slavery as a major engine of the American economy.

The bill prohibits teaching the 1619 project. It also forbids teaching that slavery was part of the “real” founding of the United States.

“The 1619 project is a false premise,” said Hardy, a Republican history teacher from Fort Worth.

Hardy attempted to discredit the New York Times series by saying that the first Africans brought to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619 were tied servants – which meant they would later gain their freedom. The accuracy of Hardy’s statements is subjective as historical records show that around 1640 some descendants of the original 20 Africans were enslaved. It is undisputed that these originally 20 Africans were kidnapped against their will by Portuguese slave traders from Angola.

This type of debate leaves some skeptical about whether Texas can legislate its way out of discussions about race, especially in a state that was aggressively racially segregating from the Jim Crow era. Civil rights groups like the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative have consistently found longstanding practices rooted in racist public politics.

“To understand how today’s criminal justice crisis is rooted in the history of racial injustice in our country, one has to face this history and its legacy honestly,” writes EJI on its website. “EJI challenges the presumption of guilt and danger in our work inside and outside the courtroom to reform the criminal justice system.”

The draft law provides for students to have both sides of a discussion on current events or social issues. Senator Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) met with skepticism.

“By validating both perspectives on such controversial issues, as this bill would require, students could more easily accept dangerous ideas discovered in class or online,” Zaffirini said in her response. “By stifling difficult conversations in the classroom, Senate Law 3 encourages students to seek answers in dubious places, including radical online forums, questionable Facebook groups, or the dark web.”

Together with a companion in the House of Representatives, the bill aims to prevent the teaching of Critical Race Theory in Texas schools. However, critics of the bill have cited rare cases of inclusion in elementary or secondary schools where Critical Racial Theory is on the curriculum.

Hughes described the Critical Race Theory as a racist and separatist ideal – with the approval of Thomas Lindsay, president of the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, who advocated the law.

Critical Race Theory was introduced as an element of law school in the 1970s to explain race and the American legal system. Since then it has taken on a broader and divisive meaning, especially among conservatives. Texas is one of several Republican-held states that have banned public schools or are attempting to teach the theory.

Critical Race Theory has also evolved into a broad discussion of the role of race in American history. The Conservative Heritage Foundation offered this assessment of the Critical Race Theory: “The central message of CRT is that racism is not the result of individual, conscious racist acts or thoughts. Racism is “systemic” and “structural”. It is embedded in the American legal system, institutions and the system of free enterprise and enforces “whiteness” as a social norm. The system, including capitalism, is “manipulated” to reward white behavior and maintain white supremacy. Curricula and training courses that teach that racism is systemic and structural and urge Americans to dismantle laws, traditions, norms, institutions and free-market corporations – the entire American system itself – are part of the CRT. “

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