Just before the end of the second called special session, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 3 – an anti-civics, anti-history bill that threatens ongoing diversity and equity work, restricts opportunities for student civic engagement, and creates a culture of fear and surveillance among Texas teachers, youth, and families. To read more about the effects of SB 3, check out this explainer from our partners with the Texas Legislative Education Equity Coalition.
Thank you to everyone who spoke out against SB 3 and other efforts to censor students and whitewash classroom curricula. Stay tuned for upcoming ways to continue the push for comprehensive and accurate civics education for all Texas students.
Hearings on SB 3 and related bills made frequent mention of the upcoming rewrite of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for social studies. After Texas students collected nearly 16,000 signatures urging the State Board of Education to push up the revision process and implement an anti-racist curriculum, the Board is beginning that process with applications to serve on review work groups. Educators, parents, business and industry representatives, and employers can apply now to join work groups that will work together for the next several months to review the current social studies TEKS and craft recommendations.
Despite months of opposition from Texans and a historic quorum break from Texas Democrats, the state legislature passed SB 1 to further restrict our freedom to vote. While Texans successfully killed several of the most heinous, anti-voter provisions of this bill, burdensome restrictions still target voters, elections workers, and civic organizations. Multiple civil rights groups have filed at least five lawsuits arguing that SB 1 will disproportionately affect voters of color and disabled voters.
As Texas students, families, and teachers continue to adjust to another chaotic and uncertain school year, state leaders have unfortunately been more focused on restricting student civic engagement and preventing local officials from protecting students and teachers as COVID cases spike across Texas. We hope you are staying safe and taking care of yourselves and your communities during these chaotic times.
It has been a difficult several weeks for Texans. This month, there are still opportunities to advocate for students and civic education.
Black Voters Matter is hosting a virtual statewide convening this Wednesday through Friday for partners to share strategies on voter registration and engagement. Register for sessions here.
Recognize Constitution Day this Friday, Sept. 17 with a free panel by Rutgers University’s Center for Youth Political Participation celebrating 50 years of the 26th Amendment and youth activists past & present fighting to protect & expand the freedom to vote. Register here.
Join the CivXNow Policy Summit next week to discuss the need for civic education and upcoming legislative opportunities to accelerate progress. Register in advance for the virtual convening here.
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