You will need to answer the 3 questions below in essay format. There are multiple questions within each individual required question. The multiple questions are similar and designed to assist you in thinking through your answers. As you answer each question, be sure to consider multiple perspectives and write as clearly and concisely as possible.
For this discussion, we are going to explore the Texas educational system on a macro level, racism, politics, and the Texas Constitution. There have been many calls to reform the Texas educational system, from the distribution of tax dollars from wealthy to low-income neighborhoods, discriminating against transgender athletes, the broken foster care system, and improving the overall quality of Texas public education. (Edgewood Independent School District v. Kirby, 1989)
The intersection of multiple identities are difficult topics to discuss in person, let alone online. They are complex, multi-faceted, and can evoke strong emotion. I just ask that you proofread your discussion responses before posting and try not to lump groups of people together. Not all people who identify as Latino speak Spanish and not all White people are racist. If you make a general statement about a group of people, you will need to include reputable cited sources to affirm your argument. You may want to use the word ‘some’ before discussing a group of people. It is okay if you feel uncomfortable discussing the topics, if so I encourage you to focus on the facts and utilize quotes from the articles. Feel free to contact me if needed.
Texas like many other states are facing a teacher shortage. Many educators have felt disenfranchised by local, state, and federal laws surrounding mask-wearing, vaccine guidelines, and in-person vs face to face instruction. Not to mention the added workload, the public hostility towards educators, low pay, and overall exhaustion. (Disclosure: I am a former public school teacher.) In addition to the pandemic, outrage over Critical Race Theory (CRT) has caused many educators to either retire early or resign. CRT has been a popular and controversial topic lately. Many states have passed or have pending legislation forbidding CRT and similar topics in EC12 education. This includes Texas and Texas HB 3979, which went into effect 9/1/21.
Some Texas parents are attending school board meetings to express outrage over the teaching of CRT and mask mandates. An administrator in Carroll ISD received criticism for advising teachers to discuss “opposing” perspectives on topics like the Holocaust, in order to remain in compliance with Texas law. A principal in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD was placed on leave and accused of promoting Critical Race Theory by allegedly sending a letter to families asking them to fight against racism after the murder of George Floyd. This past summer, Governor Abbott canceled an event because he believed the book discussed myths about the Battle of the Alamo. In the discussion thread, I have included a few excerpts from CRT. (I read CRT years ago and again this past summer in preparation for course discussions.) You may reference the Critical Race Theory book via the HCC library. You are not required to read the book
I implore you to view CRT from multiple perspectives and try to understand the arguments from a different lens. If you are against CRT, then you should understand its core tenets and be able to articulate its negative implications on government and society. If you support CRT, articulate why it is important for an equitable society and understand the arguments of the opposition. And if you are neutral or undecided, your opinion is still important to the discourse. You may be able to see both arguments clearly and find common ground or assist in closing the divide.
Answer the questions below. I do not expect you to select a side (pro-CRT or anti-CRT). I want you to evaluate the merits and examine the impact on Texans.
1) Article 7, Section 1 of the Texas Constitution states, “Support and Maintenance of System of Public Free Schools. A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.” (Texas Constitution)
What would the statement above mean for historically excluded groups (HEG’s) or those originally left out of the Texas Constitution when it was written? What does the Texas Constitution say about an equitable education? Is the Texas Constitution too vague? Should it explicitly detail what an equitable education means in Texas and align to the new Texas demographics? Does the demographics of a community dictate how responsive they will be to Critical Race Theory or other equity-related initiatives?
2) There has been a divide among Texas conservatives. Many still ascribe to the traditional model of conservatism, while others have adopted the ideology of former President Trump. Within the system of separation of powers in Texas, provide 1 recourse the current judicial and legislative branches have to counteract potential political overreach of the executive branch? How effective is Texas’ separation of powers when all 3 branches are controlled by the same party and ideology? What can be done to counteract the political influence? What impact does executive privilege have? Explain the implications on checks and balances and the Texas government?
3) “The law (Texas HB 3979) prohibits teaching that “slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to, the authentic founding principles of the United States.” Several of the Founding Fathers owned slaves.” (Richman & Donaldson, 2021)
Does Texas HB 3979 and other anti-CRT mandates violate that right to an equitable education? Does systemic racism exist in Texas educational institutions? If so, please provide examples. Should Texas students in EC12 and colleges be taught about racism and have difficult conversations about race? Does White privilege exist? Does Critical Race Theory blame White students in the classroom and/or the current generation for the transgressions of the past? Can you find a correlation between Texas banning CRT and the book on the Alamo with the Texas controversy surrounding voting rights? Describe 1 immediate (in the next 6 months) change to the education system in Texas.