Texas governor passes lawmaker’s inquiry into books in schools
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has joined the campaign of a conservative Republican lawmaker to investigate books that cover race, gender identity and sexual orientation in public schools.
State Representative Matt Krause, who chairs the House General Inquiry Committee, sent state and local school officials a list of more than 800 books on these and related topics, their asking to research the books on their campuses. Krause wants schools to report which books and how much they own, where they are kept and how they were paid for.
Many of the books on the list have been written by women, people of color, and LGBTQ writers and cover topics such as teenage pregnancy and abortion. Krause’s investigation comes after Abbott signed a law similar to those approved by legislatures in other GOP-controlled states limiting how race and racism can be taught in schools. In Texas, this includes the idea that the advent of slavery in what is now the United States marks the true founding of the nation.
Critical race theory – an academic way of thinking about American history through the prism of racism – has become a lightning rod for the Republican-dominated legislature this year.
In a letter first reported by The Texas Tribune, the Fort Worth Republican also demanded that school districts report any other books that could cause students “guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress. because of their race or gender or convey that a student, because of their race or gender, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Krause’s list included famous works such as “The Confessions of Nat Turner”, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by William Styron, “The Cider House Rules” by John Irving, the graphic novel version of “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, âBetween the World and Meâ by Ta-Nehisi Coates and âCaste: the origins of our discontentâ by Isabel Wilkerson.
Krause is challenging incumbent Ken Paxton for the nomination of Republican attorney general in next year’s primaries. He gave districts until Nov. 12 to respond, but didn’t say why he wanted the information or the consequences of not complying.
Krause did not respond to a phone message from The Associated Press, but The Tribune reported that he declined to comment.
In a letter dated Monday, Abbott warned the head of the Texas Association of School Boards that parents fear schools may expose students to “pornography or other inappropriate content,” even though the group no. has no role in approving what students read or study.
âA growing number of parents of Texas students are increasingly alarmed by some of the books and other content found in public school libraries that are grossly inappropriate in the public education system. The most egregious examples include clearly pornographic images and substances that have no place in the Texas education system, âthe Republican governor wrote to the association’s executive director Dan Troxell.
Abbott, a candidate for re-election, did not say what images he considered pornographic or what content he considered inappropriate.
The school board association said in a statement that most districts leave oversight of library materials to the administrations and staff of each district.
“The role of a school board primarily includes establishing a strategic plan for the district, adopting policies at public meetings, approving the district budget, and selecting and evaluating a superintendent. “said the association.