Texas GOP lawmaker faces pushback after requesting that schools keep extensive records of books on sex and race
One Texas Republican lawmaker recently called on schools to keep inventory of books on sex and race that may cause "discomfort ' for students. The request has opened the door for heated debates and critical responses.
According to the Charlotte-Observer, Texas State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth, Texas), who also serves as chairman of one of the state's investigative committee's, recently penned a letter to Texas Education Agency (TEA) deputy commissioner Lily Laux and a number of superintendents.
The letter, which included a preliminary inventory list if over 500 books, also calls for school libraries and teachers to librarians to keep track of how much money is being spent on these books.
Krause also requested that school districts "identify other books or content addressing 'human sexuality' and 'material that might make students feel discomfort ... or convey that a student, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.'"
The requests appear to align with the language in a new Texas law. Although Krause stands by his letter, it has prompted outrage among Democratic lawmakers, Education advocates, librarians and more.
"It's been a really concerning situation for our school librarians, and our education system has already been so strained over the last year and a half," said Shirley Robinson, the executive director of the Texas Library Association.
Speaking to Round Rock, Texas' American-Statesman, spokeswoman Jenny LaCoste-Caputo noted how tedious such an effort would be.
"Our Library Director is working on the request," LaCoste-Caputo said. "It will take a significant amount of time to research each title and determine which ones we have available, at which campuses, how many copies, and the cost for each."
The letter, which appears to have been sent to predominantly urban areas, has also garnered a response from Joy Baskin, director of legal services for the Texas Association who pushed back against Krause's request.
"I really think that the schools should be focusing on educating our kids, giving them historically accurate information, rather than wasting taxpayer dollars on an issue that is a political tactic intended to create division."
The TEA also released a statement confirming its intent to address Krause's remarks.
"TEA's investigative authority arises under the provisions of the Texas Education Code. Legislative investigatory authority falls outside of TEA's purview, and any question regarding such authority should be directed to the committee. In addition, TEA does not comment on investigations that it may or may not have opened that haven't yet closed."
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