Texas teachers say GOP’s new social studies law will hinder how an entire generation understands race, history and current events
When Texas teachers return to their public or open-enrollment charter school classrooms later this year, a new state law will restrict how they can discuss current events, encourage civic engagement and teach about America’s history of racism.
Texas educators who spoke to The Texas Tribune overwhelmingly denounced the new law, born from House Bill 3979 — the so-called critical race theory bill passed during this year’s regular legislative session. They say its sweeping language, which includes a ban on teaching that a student should feel guilt because of their race, will mean that classroom conversations about racism could unintentionally spur parents’ anger and cause teachers to be punished.
They say it will make it more difficult to creatively meet the curriculum standards given to them by the state and teach students to think critically. And they worry that the legislation altogether will chill discussions and lessons about social studies and current events in ways that give a generation of Texas students an incomplete and white-centric view of history and the world around them.
The Tribune interviewed more than two dozen teachers across the state to learn how the legislation’s provisions will impact them — and Texas students.