Dr. Chloe Lathamn Sikes • Knowledge is Power • September 16, 2021 •

A new classroom censorship law is on the books in Texas. It replaced HB 3979 just one day after it took effect. Senate Bill 3, the more recent bill, was passed on the final day of the second special legislative session. It echoes several provisions in HB 3979 and makes some new changes, notably to the social studies learning standards, or the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

The two main changes to learning standards are: (1) removal of the list of key diverse historical figures and events, and 2) “addition” of civics education language, much of which already existed in standards. Our analysis outlines where changes to learning standards in the bill are missing or already exist.

HB 3979 added a long list of historical figures and events significant to this country’s racial history. In contrast, SB 3 removed these specific names, events and movements but included a clause that the removal does not prohibit the State Board of Education from adopting those names into the TEKS or teachers from teaching those names and events.

SB 3 purported to enhance civics education, though changes to the standards that promote U.S. founding documents, free speech and understanding civic responsibility already exist in many social studies TEKS. IDRA’s analysis includes which social studies courses already contained these civics concepts and where they will be new additions.


[©2021, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the September 16, 2021, edition of Knowledge is Power by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]

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