Media and politicians mislead on Texas education bill

Media top headlines July 20

In media news today, reporters hit President Biden for walking back sharp criticism of Facebook, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell made eyebrow-raising remarks about in Washington, D.C., and the Washington Post lightheartedly mocked Hunter Biden’s art.

Journalists and politicians appeared to mislead followers regarding a recent Texas bill regarding curriculum in public schools. 

On Tuesday, the liberal website Huffington Post reported on a recent Texas bill that passed the Senate on Friday. The legislation, known as Senate Bill 3, related to the requirements and prohibitions of curriculum in Texas public schools.

Within their report, the Huffington Post claimed that the recent Senate bill would “eliminate a requirement that public schools teach that the Ku Klux Klan and its white supremacist campaign of terror are ‘morally wrong.’”

The reading comes from the Texas House bill’s original requirement of “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.” The revised Senate bill removed this provision from the legislation.

The Huffington Post highlighted that the “cut is among some two dozen curriculum requirements dropped from the new measure, along with studying Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, the works of United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez, Susan B. Anthony’s writings about the women’s suffragist movement, and Native American history.”

Various journalists and politicians took to Twitter to claim that the bill defends the KKK or bars denouncing the white supremacy group.

“When Jim Crow was first established, the process was slow, one outrage at a time. The state laws were systematically altered over a decade. I’m sure some ppl thought, “look at that, another crazy thing” and went on with their lives. DON’T REPEAT HISTORY,” New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow tweeted.

Former Washington Post writer David Beard tweeted out the article along with a National Geographic piece on the Ku Klux Klan writing, “Quick kids, read this before Texas makes it illegal to teach it. ‘The KKK used secrecy, intimidation, violence, and murder to prevent formerly enslaved African-American men from voting. Black officeholders and their supporters were especially targeted.’”

Noted critical race theory proponent Ibram X. Kendi also shared the Huffington Post article commenting, “GOP Lt. Gov. @DanPatrick praised the law for *rejecting* ‘philosophies that espouse that one race or sex is better than another.’ The law dropped requirements to read MLK, Cesar Chavez and suffragist Susan B. Anthony–and teach the KKK as ‘morally wrong.’”

Politicians were particularly vitriolic to the Texas bill. Democrat Rep. Bobby L. Rush, Ill., posted the article calling the bill “insane.”

“Here’s why Governor Abbott added Critical Race Theory to the special session. He doesn’t want our kids to learn that White Supremacy is morally wrong. You read that right. We must trust our teachers. We must defend the truth in our classrooms. SB3 does the opposite #txlege,” Democratic Texas State Representative Jarvis Johnson previously tweeted

“Greg Abbott to erase MLK Jr., César Chávez, and Susan B. Anthony from the Texas curriculum, and recast the KKK as the good guys. This is an assault on history and it must be stopped,” former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro said. 

The bill did not bar the teaching of the Ku Klux Klan nor teaching that the white supremacy group was “morally wrong.” In addition, the Senate bill also required that teachers “may not require or make part of a course inculcation in the concept that: race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.” Furthermore, teachers are barred from teaching that “an individual should be discriminated against or adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex.

The bill also required the teaching of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964; Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Nineteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; the complexity of the historic relationship between Texas and Mexico; and the diversity of the Hispanic population in Texas.

National Review editor Rich Lowry later posted a lengthy Twitter thread dissecting what he referred to as a “completely dishonest” take on the Texas bill. 

“The was incredibly detailed and extensive, when it’s the role of the state board of education, not the legislature, to get into the weeds of the specifics of the curriculum. Besides, many of the items are *already* covered in the curriculum,” he tweeted. 

He went on to explain that the Texas standards for U.S. history, which have remained the same since 1877, already require a teaching of the Ku Klux Klan as well as Jim Crow laws.

“Here is the most relevant provision for our purposes: ‘(B) explain how Jim Crow laws and the Ku Klux Klan created obstacles to civil rights for minorities such as the suppression of voting;’ Lowry tweeted.

After passing the Senate under an 18-4 vote, the bill is expected to return to the House. However, the House currently lacks the quorum to vote on a bill due to the Texas Democrat fleeing the state to protest a voting reform bill.

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