GOP-fueled fight for kid-friendly library books intensifies in Texas
WEDNESDAY on “The Source” – The final chapter of Texas Republicans dictating what can we teach in Kindergarten to Grade 12 classes, these are books that aim to teach sensitive but important topics, especially those related to race and LGBTQ issues.
Texas is not alone in its hunt for books. Other states have also become entangled in cultural wars focused on education on how to teach students the truthful history of the United States and on complex topics like racism and human sexuality.
On October 25, GOP State Representative Matt Krause published a letter to the Texas Education Agency about concerns about certain books in school libraries. Most of the books that Krause – who is running for the state attorney general – wants to disappear from Texas schools include topics on race and human sexuality, and LGBTQ issues are a central theme of the majority of those targeted.
According to Krause demand, first reported by The Texas Tribune, its specific criticism is with 850 tracks which “contain material that could cause students to feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or gender or transmit that a student, because of his race or gender, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Other GOP state lawmakers have also required inquiries into school library books that they deem inappropriate.
On November 8, Texas Governor Greg Abbott charge education officials and the association of state school boards identifying and removing “pornography or other inappropriate content” from public schools and providing statewide standards to prevent “obscene content” in libraries and classrooms.
Two days later, Abbott asked the Texas Education Agency to conduct a criminal investigation in the “availability of pornography” in public schools “for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law”, despite the fact that TEA does not have a law enforcement arm.
What do GOP leaders and lawmakers hope to achieve with these investigations? What are their removal criteria? What reasons do they cite for stepping up the pressure on the books now?
Are library books an issue that preoccupies the majority of voters in Texas, or is it just a political posture ahead of the 2022 election cycle?
What has been the response from district leaders, teachers, and librarians across Texas? Have any of the suggested titles been deleted? Who decides what is taught in Texas K-12 classes?
Will it set a precedent for removing all literature that teaches sensitive but important topics? What are the appropriate standards? Where does it end?
“The Source” is a live program broadcast Monday through Thursday from 12 noon to 1 pm. Leave a message before broadcast at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email [email protected] or tweet @TPRSource. * This interview will be recorded on Wednesday November 17th.
Texas GOP lawmaker launches inquiry into race and sexuality books used in school districts – The Washington Post
Texas lawmaker wants to know what books on race and sexuality are in schools | The Texas Tribune
Addendum – Content list – DocumentCloud
Greg Abbott orders TEA to find out if Texas schools have pornographic books | The Texas Tribune
Austin ISD first to challenge Texas House investigation into books on racism and sexuality (houstonchronicle.com)
Texas GOP book hunt primarily targets LGBTQ issues, not critical race theory (expressnews.com)