The Texas Senate voted to end a requirement for schools to teach that white supremacy is bad

Texas state Senate
State Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) speaks at a Senate Committee on State Affairs hearing at the State Capitol on July 10, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images
  • Texas Republicans voted to end a rule requiring teaching of certain civil rights topics.
  • It is part of a broader push against the teaching of ‘critical race theory’ in schools.
  • The measure is unlikely to pass since Texas Democrats blocked all new bills by leaving the state.
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The Texas Senate on Friday voted to end a requirement for schools to teach about the civil rights movement.

It includes a proposal to drop required teaching that white supremacy is morally bad as part of social studies classes.

The bill is a way of becoming law: it still requires consent of the Texas House of Representatives, which is currently in gridlock after a large number of Democrats fled the state.

The new rules are part of Senate Bill 3, and passed the state Senate by 18 votes to 4 on Friday. It would remove the mandate to teach the achievements of civil rights figures including Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez and Susan B Anthony.

Also removed from course requirements is teaching the history of white supremacy, the eugenics movement and the KKK, and “the ways in which it is morally wrong.”

The vote was an amendment of a bill passed in June, House Bill 3979, that sought to ban teaching critical race theory (CRT) in schools.

The bill instead nstead requires pupils to learn about civil rights legislation and parts of the US Constitution expanding civil rights more broadly, and bans teaching the subjects in what is characterizes as an imbalanced way.

Friday’s vote also banned the teaching of the 1619 Project, a New York Times initiative that explored the legacy of slavery and racism in US history.

“Senate Bill 3 will make certain that critical race philosophies including the debunked 1619 founding myth, are removed from our school curriculums statewide,” said Senate President Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in a statement to KVUE.

“Parents want their students to learn how to think critically, not be indoctrinated by the ridiculous leftist narrative that America and our Constitution are rooted in racism,” Patrick said.

Democratic Sen. Judith Zaffrini said that the bill would make it impossible to accurately teach history.

“How could a teacher possibly discuss slavery, the Holocaust, or the mass shootings at the Walmart in El Paso or at the Sutherland Springs church in my district without giving deference to any one perspective?” she said, according to Bloomberg.

It is unclear if state Republicans have sought to distinguish Critical Race Theory teaching from broader teaching about racism and civil rights.

The law is currently stalled because House Democrats have left the state to protest against the passing of Republican-backed restrictions to voting access in the state.

Their departure means that the House cannot reach quorum – the minimum number of members needed to pass bills – effectively putting all activity on hold.