Why Texas Republicans’ crusade against 'woke civics' does students a huge disservice: report
All around the United States, Republicans in state legislatures have been passing laws against teaching, in public schools, what they loosely define as "critical race theory" or "woke" ideology. In Florida, for example, a long list of books have been banned from schools under GOP Ron DeSantis.
Texas is not unique when it comes to anti-CRT laws, but in an article republished by The Guardian on May 1, reporter Asher Lehrer-Small explains why its law is especially bad for students.
"Since Texas lawmakers, in 2021, passed a ban on lessons teaching that any one group is 'inherently racist, sexist or oppressive,' a little-noticed provision of that legislation has triggered a massive fallout for civics education across the state," Lehrer-Small explains. "Tucked into Page 8 is a stipulation outlawing all assignments involving 'direct communication' between students and their federal, state or local officials — short-circuiting the training young Texans receive to participate in democracy itself."
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Lehrer-Small notes that although 18 states in the U.S. have "passed laws restricting teachings on race and gender" since 2021, Texas is "the only one nationwide to suppress students' interactions with elected officials in class projects, according to researchers at the free expression advocacy group Pen America."
Democratic Texas State Rep. James Talarico told The 74, "By the time we got to 2021, civics was the latest weapon in the culture wars…. Students are now banned from advocating for something like a stop sign in front of their school."
Right-wing scholar Stanley Kurtz, according to Lehrer-Small, was a major influence on Texas' 2021 law. Kurtz views civics projects for students as "woke civics" and a form of leftist indoctrination.
But Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, who directs the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University in Boston, doesn't see it that way at all.
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Kawashima-Ginsberg told The 74 that the claim that such projects are "activism happening in classrooms" is "just so far from the truth." And she said of Texas' 2021 law, "It's going to really damage their idea of what democracy is."
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The full article continues at this link.
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