The Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 3, eliminating several educational requirements, including one that teaches the Ku Klux Klan is “morally wrong.”
Senate Bill 3 passed with an 18-4 vote in the Republican-led state Senate on July 16, NBC News reported. The bill is the follow-up to House Bill 3979, signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier this month.
While HB 3979 required teachings related to race, slavery and the treatment of Indigenous Americans, SB 3 states educators “may not be compelled to discuss a particular current event or widely debated and currently controversial issue of public policy or social affairs.”
HB 3979 required students to read “historical documents related to the civic accomplishments of marginalized populations” and included an extensive list of readings, per The Austin American-Statesman. It also required educators to teach “the history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong.”
The Texas Senate bill removed the white supremacy requirement. It got rid of two dozen texts related to race and white supremacy, including Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the Emancipation Proclamation and Frederick Douglass’s autobiography. Teachings related to women’s suffrage and Native American history were also eliminated.
The new reading list focuses more on legislation like the 13th and 14th amendments, which abolished slavery and granted formerly enslaved people citizenship. It also includes teachings about “the diversity of the Hispanic population in Texas” and the state’s relationship to Mexico.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick praised the Texas Senate bill and claimed 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,” reported Fox 10 News.
The bill is headed to the State House of Representatives, but its future is uncertain due to the absence of House Democrats, who staged a walkout earlier this month to protest Republican voting laws. At least 60 Democrats are in Washington D.C., and they have not indicated when they will return. SB 3 cannot be accepted and put up for a vote until they get back.