New Texas charter schools must provide ‘assurance’ they won’t teach CRT
The Texas Education Agency will require any new charter school to submit a “statement of assurance” it will not teach critical race theory.
The Texas Education Agency will now require any new charter school to submit a “statement of assurance” that it will not teach critical race theory.
According to The Texas Tribune, each statement must ensure that “the school design and curricular materials are aligned with the TEKS including all clauses of HB 3979 and any subsequent related legislation.” TEKS refers to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills — what students learn in each course or grade.
State Bill 3 replaced House Bill 3979. The law says that a “teacher may not be compelled to discuss a widely debated and currently controversial issue of public policy or social affairs.” It does not define what a controversial issue is.
Additionally, the law says that the history of enslavement in the United States cannot be taught as a contributing factor to the “true founding” of the country. Instead, schools must teach that “slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to the authentic founding principles of the United States.”
Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick has pledged to ban critical race theory in public universities, as well as K-12 schools, a move that critics have called “a new low.”
“I will not stand by and let looney Marxist UT professors poison the minds of young students with Critical Race Theory,” Patrick tweeted last week. “We banned it in publicly funded K-12 and we will ban it in publicly funded higher ed. That’s why we created the Liberty Institute at UT.”
Chalkbeat, an educational news website, posted a story earlier this year about a proposed charter school whose approval had been put on hold because its website featured a quote from the book How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.
The school, Essence Preparatory, reportedly also included “statements, authors or written works” that violated the law in its 500-page application. The school’s founder, Akeem Brown, pledged Essence would have high academic standards, culturally responsive teaching and a focus on learning about public policy.
The charter had been recommended by the Texas Education Agency, but that was put on hold when the school’s leaders appeared before the State Board of Education for final approval.
“We are compelled to offer a culturally competent curriculum,” Brown told the state board members in June. “But I do want you to know that we will serve our students following the law of the state of Texas.” The board approved the school, but the process again stalled months later until it removed all references to antiracism from its website and application.
Essence Preparatory will open in August.
Charter schools are held to the same standards as public schools in Texas. There is currently no guidance on how the new laws against critical race theory are to be applied. The state’s social studies curriculum is set to be revised over the next year.
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