Saturday, May 22, 2021

Texas’ divisive bill limiting how students learn about current events and historic racism passed by Senate

House Bill 3979 was debated into the wee hours of the morning. I caught the whole Senate debate. Senator Hughes was disingenuous in saying that the bill is needed so as to make sure that no students are taught "that one race or gender is not superior to another." Why, when we know that doing so is so morally and ethically objectionable? 

The answer is that it's not happening, my friends. Nor did they defend their position well at all.

As per my previous post, Sen. Bryan Hughes had no answer to statements made that HB 3979 represents an agenda pursued by the former Trump administration.

As Senators Carol Alvarado, John Whitmire, Royce West, José Menéndez,  and others said last night, this is unnecessary legislation because it distrusts and disrespects teachers on the indefensible grounds that this lie that teachers are teaching this way is actually happening. 

Whitmire, in particular, asked Senator Hughes directly  about the specific sources for this concern, including which teachers, parents, and academics were behind this. In this same vein, Senator Alvarado, pointed to a petition against HB 3979 with approximately a hundred signatures on it from historians to which he said he was unaware. All Hughes could offer is that it comes from a text that surfaced in Hyde Park from nebulous sources that Senator Hughes refused to divulge.

This all sounds super fishy and lends credence to the rumor circling about at the capitol that is is a self-published text designed to sabotage the teaching of race relations and critical perspectives in our social studies curriculum.

We know that this is a Trumpian, knee-jerk response to the racial justice movement that took place this year in the wake of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor killings by police. I'll state again what I said recently to a Houston Chronicle reporter: “This is part of a larger agenda to disenfranchise our communities, because we know that people who are critical and involved, that they vote."

One person I came across cogently said, this is an "avoidance curriculum," in that it seeks to muzzle discourse on white supremacy, patriarchy, and systemic oppression as if these reasons for inequality in our country simply expired.  Senator Royce West did a really good job on drilling down on this point last night on how the under-representation of African American Senators in Texas (there are only two) are evidence of systemic racism and oppression.

Listen for yourself to last night's entire Texas Senate floor debate at this link that begins at 1:33:21 on the meter.

Next step? Sign this petition to urge Governor Greg Abbott not to sign this bill: Tell Texas Governor Gov. Greg Abbott not to whitewash history in classrooms.

Longer term, we need to vote this no-nothing, right-wing legislature, out of power—even as they reinscribe white supremacy through legislation like this to preserve their incumbencies. After all, you cannot conquer a people with a history. And they know that.

-Angela Valenzuela


Texas’ divisive bill limiting how students learn about current events and historic racism passed by Senate

The bill aims to ban critical race theory in public and open-enrollment charter schools. Supporters say it merely ensures students aren't taught that one race or gender is superior to another. Critics say it limits how race in America is taught.


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