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How Should Texas Schools Teach History, Civics And Discuss Concepts Of Race, Racism In K-12 Classrooms?

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Texas GOP lawmakers are considering legislation to ensure social studies teachers focus on what they consider to be “traditional history” and make it harder to teach concepts related to racism, sexism and bias in K-12 classrooms.

Similar bills are gaining traction in other GOP-controlled states amid an ongoing nationwide debate about how schools should teach U.S. history and civics, and whether or not to incorporate so-called "woke philosophies" like critical race theory into curriculums.

What legislation is being considered in Texas and why is it controversial? What reasons have been given for and against limiting or banning certain educational approaches or kinds of discussions at the K-12 levels? What do Texas educators think about the proposed changes?

How is this debate playing out in other states and on the national stage, and why now? How did national civics guidelines and priorities for teaching U.S. history differ under the Trump and Biden administrations? What role does the 1619 Project play in the debate?

When it comes to teaching students about the country's complex and racially fraught history, textbooks and curricula differ from state to state. Why is this the case? Who gets to decide what students learn about the past and its impact on modern-day America?

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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, May 12.