(Austin • September 3, 2021) Last night, after two special sessions and despite statewide opposition from hundreds of students, teachers, parents, business leaders, historians and education experts, the Texas Legislature passed SB 3. The new classroom censorship bill moves now to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
“We are disappointed that Texas policymakers spent yet another legislative session on this harmful, copycat policy that attempts to silence teachers, whitewash history, and deny students the opportunity to learn the truth,” said Ana Ramón, IDRA deputy director of advocacy. “We will continue to work with the growing coalitions of individuals and organizations in Texas and across the country who are determined to create safe and culturally-sustaining schools for all students.”
SB 3 supersedes the previous classroom censorship bill, HB 3979, that became law Wednesday. In addition to harmful restrictions on classroom discussions of race, racism and history, SB 3 institutes an expensive training program for educator compliance and repeals many important historical, diverse figures from learning standards in the prior bill.
Classroom censorship bills promote a revisionist U.S. history that whitewashes historical and current racial injustices and undermines the past and present experiences of Black, Indigenous, Latino and other communities of color. With this bill in place, students will not learn the content knowledge they need to critically analyze our society or learn how to act as empathetic leaders, advocates and allies in our democracy. They will no longer learn key historical facts or patterns.
Bills that whitewash curriculums like these, will have an intimidating effect on educators across the state. There have already been multiple instances of teachers and administrators being placed on leave and valued programs being canceled due to the chilling effect of similar legislation passed earlier this year. The additional burden of adhering to vague, restrictive, ahistorical, and at times contradictory learning standards is unfair to our teachers and students, especially as they continue to face challenges related to the pandemic.
This bill will make it harder for schools to address harmful discrimination experienced by students of color and to create safe, inclusive learning environments for all students.
We thank those lawmakers who took a stand against SB 3 for Texas youth and educators. This fight is not over, and we will continue to work with the many other organizations and individuals who continue to push toward justice for Texas students and educators.