TEXAS – The statewide student history curriculum could change if Texas Senate leaders vote for Bill 3979. The bill focuses on critical race theory and limits what is taught in classes on race and gender.
If this happens, there are many questions for teachers, students and parents, but some history lessons can survive the potential change.
Bill 3979 states that teachers who teach on controversial and hotly debated issues must do so in a way that gives different perspectives and does not show that one race or gender is superior to another. According to this definition, this means that topics about white privilege or the gender pay gap can be banned.
âIt’s anti-democracy. It is anti-inclusive of voices. It’s an anti-student voice. It’s an anti-teaching voice, âsaid Amber Sims, co-founder of Young Leaders, Strong City.
âYoung Leaders, Strong Cityâ is a carefully crafted group of high school students learning to use their voices to promote racial justice and fairness. Many of their discussions revolve around finding parallels between today’s problems and historical events.
âWhat the students have told us over and over again is that they don’t have these conversations in schools. They aren’t allowed to talk about race or they don’t feel comfortable. “They do it, the conversations are interrupted. In short, because the teachers don’t feel comfortable,” Sims explained.
She believes that giving students a safe space to talk about political issues related to race is how society evolves. She believes that young minds can better understand what is going on in the world.
âWe have students who carry out projects on racism that is rampant on their campuses through a photo gallery. Students have taught immigration sit-ins to help their peers learn more about the topic, âadded Sims.
If some humanities lessons are banned from the classroom due to a Critical Race Theory bill, Sims believes the onus will fall on parents and mentors like her to teach certain pieces of history.
Texas State Representative Steve Toth tweeted earlier this month that he is happy that Governor Greg Abbot is working on the bill. He wrote that he protects children from the caustic effects of racism.
âInstead of allocating more money to schools, this is what they continue to focus on, in the midst of a pandemic when resources have been lost – when there is a loss of learning. Where are the priorities? Sims asked.
All won’t be lost if students are also more curious outside the classroom, according to Sims.
If the bill becomes law, she hopes students will study subjects related to race and gender by going to museums, buying their own history books and autobiographies, or watching educational documentaries.