Texas teachers and students, tell us how race and racism are taught in school

Students leave the classroom to work in the computer lab at Mata Intermediate School.

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After the systemic racism in American institutions was thrust into the spotlight last year, Texas lawmakers approved a controversial bill that restricts how teachers can talk about race and current events in public schools.

House Bill 3979 says that teachers can’t be compelled to discuss current events, and if they do, they must explore them without giving “deference to any one perspective.” It bars them from making civic engagement part of a course. The bill also emphasizes the teaching of “founding documents” and bans teaching about “The 1619 Project,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning project from The New York Times that examines the influence of slavery and racial exploitation throughout America’s history.

Teachers have raised concerns about this legislation. Some consider it an effort to “whitewash” history while others worry it may have a chilling effect on teachers who want to teach history, English, science, math or music in a way that encourages critical thinking.

We’re working on a series of projects about how teachers and students teach and learn about race in Texas, what more needs to be done and what barriers the legislation may pose. Fill out the form below, and we’ll be in touch.

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