Texas Senate passes bill that stops teaching requirement calling KKK ‘morally wrong’

The bill cuts over two dozen curriculum requirements, including the study of Dr. Martin Luther King’s "I Have a Dream" speech.

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Republican senators in Texas have continued their ongoing fight against cultural awareness in the state’s public schools. They recently passed a bill that will eliminate the requirement that teaches that the Ku Klux Klan and its historic terror are “morally wrong.” 

Senate Bill 3, which passed last Friday 18 votes to 4, will eliminate most mentions of people of color from the state’s required curriculum. More than two dozen curriculum requirements have been cut by the bill, including the study of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the reading of writings about the women’s suffragist movement, Native American history and the work of labor activist Cesar Chavez

The bill does not make the study of these issues illegal. Instead, it makes them no longer required to diversify the subjects studied in Texas schools. The autonomy will lie with school districts. 

Joe Cook Gines holds an anti-Ku Klux Klan placard at Huntington Beach pier during an April protest against white supremacy in Huntington Beach, California. (Photo by Apu Gomes/Getty Images)

The new bill is similar to one that has already passed that bars teachers from teaching “an understanding” of The New York TimesNikole Hannah-Jones-helmed The 1619 Project. The previous bill had prohibited social studies teachers from teaching critical race theory, giving deference to one group more than any other or from being compelled to discuss current events. The new bill will apply that rule to teachers of all subjects. 

Texas’ Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick praised the passage of the bill, saying that it rejects “philosophies that espouse that one race or sex is better than another.” He added that Texas parents “want their students to learn how to think critically, not be indoctrinated by the ridiculous leftist narrative that America and our Constitution are rooted in racism.” 

In Texas, the lieutenant governor presides over the Senate. The Lone Star State ranks number 34th in education in the nation, as of two years ago, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Critics of the bill are responding on social media.

“The Texas Senate has voted to remove civil rights and women’s suffrage from public school curriculum,” Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York wrote on Twitter. “It was never about Critical Race Theory. It was always about teaching white supremacy.”

“The Texas Senate has ended requirements that social studies classes include the civil rights movement and women’s suffrage,” noted Robert Reich, former secretary of labor. “Among figures dropped: Martin Luther King Jr. and Susan B. Anthony. Just the start of Republican-induced ignorance of our past?”

To become law, the bill must pass the state’s House, which is also led by Republicans. However, it can not be voted on because the 51 Democrats who left the state earlier this month to block a restrictive voting bill have denied the House a quorum, which is the minimum amount of members present to hold a vote.

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