Exploring Resistance to Teaching Critical Race Theory: Part 3

The Texas Law: what it was and what it became

Governor Abbott holds a pen as he closes a document folder containing a new law passed in Texas which he has just signed.
Governor Abbott signing a law. This is a screen shot of him signing a different law.

As Part 1 and Part 2 of this series described, some states are using Executive Order 13950 as a guide to limit the teaching of certain concepts in public school social study curricula. On July 15, 2021, Texas Governor Abbot signed HB 3979 into law.

I am curious as to how Texas will impose this law. As it is currently written, it seems like a massive contradiction and impossible piece of bureaucracy for schools. It includes text from EO 13950, as follows:

Text from HB 3979

This text differs from EO 13950 in that it does not have the line about “the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist”, and it adds items ix and x above.

The above text is from the middle not the beginning of the law. It starts by saying:

The first section of the Texas Law HB 3979

Interestingly, in the first draft of the bill which was presented to the Texas House, the following was stated as what should be included:

The bill as first presented on March 11, 2021

By the signing of the bill, it had been amended to include:

The list of what should be taught as part of social studies in Texas public schools

I plan to pursue further analysis regarding the application and implications of this law. My first thought is that I need to read many of these texts. My second is that teaching what is asked in section 4 (see above) will be quite difficult. My third thought is that some legislators clearly amended this bill to ensure that a complete history of the United States is taught, regardless of the initial intent.

My next step is to find teachers who are discussing how they will teach within the confines of this law. I am also curious which law makers added these texts and why. Finally, I hope to learn about other similar state laws what is happening with them. If there are other topics around this you would like me to cover, please let me know in the comments. Thank you.

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