The Texas Senate on Saturday passed a new version of a House bill that would ban the teaching of critical race theory in public schools.
Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, introduced the Senate version of HB 3979 Friday night. It passed around 2 a.m. Saturday with 18 Republicans in favor and all 13 Democrats opposed.
“Last nite & into the morning, Texas Senate debated #CriticalRaceTheory. We must teach the truth about our history, & judge others based on the content of character & not the color of skin,” Hughes tweeted Saturday.
Sen. Royce West, meanwhile, was one of many Democrats who voiced disappointment at the bill’s passage. West said he agreed with Hughes contention that “people shouldn’t be judged by the color of their skin, but unfortunately, that is the plight today for African Americans, Latinos, and minorities in this country.”
“Let’s not whitewash it because it is, and yes, we should be teaching our kids the history of this country so they won’t make the same mistakes that were made by our generations before us,” he said. “And when we put up things like this, for instance, I think it’s a disservice.”
Critical race theory, or “CRT,” is a school of thought that focuses on how power structures and institutions impact racial minorities. It argues that race is a social construct that is weaponized by dominant groups to oppress others.
A protester holds a sign outside a Noblesville school board meeting Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Reuters)
CRT’s supporters say it helps dominant groups’ understanding and empathy of what the oppressed experience on a regular basis. They say CRT training is a way to dismantle or weaken alleged structures imposing burdens through bias and discrimination.
But CRT’s opponents argue that it is inherently divisive, creates collective guilt for dominant groups, and assigns racial significance to seemingly innocuous concepts.
The Texas Senate bill, which is not much different from the House version, aims to reign in what public school students in Texas can be taught about racism.
HB 3979 now heads back to the House before heading to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for final approval.
The bill comes amid a nationwide push to crack down on CRT being taught in schools. On Wednesday, a coalition of 20 state attorneys general called for the Biden administration to withdraw education proposals that they argue are meant to promote CRT and the New York Times’ “1619 Project” in classrooms.
Fox News’ Sam Dorman and Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.