AUSTIN, Texas – State senators in Texas are considering legislation that would expand recently passed restrictions on social studies courses in public grade schools, despite concerns from educators and the absence of most Texas House Democrats that has brought lawmaking in that chamber to a halt.
It’s the latest GOP push to restrict the teaching of critical race theory, a framework used to examine racism in colleges and universities that has become a Republican catch-all term for what some see as divisive efforts to address racism and inequity in schools.
During the regular legislative session that ended in May, Republicans rallied to pass House Bill 3979, which limits how teachers can discuss race and current events in social studies courses and bars them from awarding students course credit for social or political advocacy work.
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The new law, slated to go into effect in September, says teachers may not be compelled to discuss current events or controversial topics of public policy. If they do discuss such a topic, they must explore it from “diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective.”
But Gov. Greg Abbott called lawmakers back to the Capitol on July 8 to work on Republican priorities left pending after House Democrats’ walkout at…