HB 3979 Would Undermine Student Learning and Make Overcoming Challenges Like Racism and Inequality Harder
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 28, 2021
AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Freedom Network Political Director Carisa Lopez today applauded the derailing of HB 3979 on a point of order in the Texas House. The bill would censor instruction on topics like racism and inequality in Texas classrooms.
“Helping students understand how history can shape current events and encouraging them to advocate on issues they care about are important for our democracy,” Lopez said. “But this bill would do the opposite. Texas doesn’t need politicians policing classrooms, censoring what students learn and regulating how they become informed and engaged citizens. HB 3979 will undermine education and make the challenges we face today on issues like racism and inequality even harder to overcome together.”
The bill was sent back to the Senate after the House parliamentarian sustained a point of order by state Rep. James Talarico, D-Round Rock. The House parliamentarian agreed that changes made by the Senate were not permissible. It is unclear whether enough time remains in the session to pass a reworked bill.
The bill purportedly promotes civic education, but it would restrict how schools teach history and current events, discourage student involvement in civic and political advocacy, and prohibit private funding for teacher training, curriculum materials and programs that don’t conform to highly subjective and politicized criteria.
A broad coalition of education, civil rights and business organizations have opposed the bill. The American Historical Association as well as historians in Texas also released public letters in opposition.
The Texas Freedom Network (tfn.org) is a grassroots organization of religious and community leaders and young Texans building an informed and effective movement for equality and social justice.