Why did the Texas Senate remove “white supremacy” and ways “it is morally wrong” from new education bill?

An education bill that was recently passed along party lines by the Texas Senate removed, among other things, a teaching requirement about “the history of white supremacy… and the ways in which it is morally wrong.”

Senate Bill 3 is the special session update to HB 3979, the so-called “critical race theory bill” signed into law during the regular session in June.

At the time, Gov. Abbott called the public education legislation “a strong move to abolish critical race theory in Texas, but more must be done.”

The new bill removes a list of a few dozen curriculum requirements including “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.”

Other items removed include “historical documents related to the civic accomplishments of marginalized populations, including documents related to: the Chicano movement; women’s suffrage and equal rights (and) the civil rights movement.”

“All of these really important seminal moments in American history and civics are now being stripped from the bill,” said Dr. Vida Robertson, director of the Center for Critical Race Studies at the University of Houston-Downtown. “The co-signers are asking us to participate in what we would easily call a colorblind or whitewashed approach to civics and history.”

Republican Senator Bryan Hughes represents Northeast Texas and authored Senate Bill 3. He said the idea that his bill would prohibit these subjects from being taught is a common misconception.

“They’re not just allowed to be taught,” he said, “they are required to be taught.”

“We want to teach American History and Texas history, the whole truth, the good, the bad and the ugly,” he added. “These specific elements are already in the curriculum.”

The Texas Education Code is already hundreds of pages long and includes requirements that students be taught about the civil rights movement, slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, Martin Luther King Jr. and other subjects removed in SB3.

The requirement that white supremacy “and the ways in which it is morally wrong” be taught does not appear to be in the code.

Dr. Robertson said he was opposed to both bills, which he said were unnecessary, as critical race theory is a graduate discipline not taught in public schools.

Hughes agreed that critical race theory and its principles are not widely taught in public schools, but he said the new laws are necessary because there is evidence that the theory and its doctrines are being introduced to some Texas students by a small number of teachers and administrators.

“When a fire starts in the kitchen you don’t wait until it spreads to the living room, or the bedroom, before you put it out,” he said.