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The McKinney, Texas, school district canceled its successful Youth and Government elective course. Officials feared that the program might violate the state’s new law forbidding the teaching of critical race theory.
In Texas, as in other states that have passed such legislation, the result is predictable: it has a chilling effect on freedom to discuss controversial issues, especially anything related to racism, as it allegedly might make white students feel guilty because of their race.
The Texas Tribune reports:
McKinney school officials long took pride in their students’ participation in the nationwide Youth and Government program, calling the district a “perennial standout”.
Every year, students researched current issues, proposed and debated their own public policy, and competed in a mock legislature and elections process for statewide offices. Since the program’s arrival to McKinney in 2005 as a club, seven of the district’s middle school students have been elected governor — the program’s top honor — at the statewide conference in Austin. In 2017, the district added an elective option: Seventh and eighth graders in two of the district’s middle schools could now receive course credit for participating in the program.
But in June, the district canceled the elective option in response to a social studies law passed during this year’s regular legislative session. In an email to middle school administrators obtained by The Texas Tribune, a social studies curriculum coordinator wrote that “in light of” the new law’s ban on political activism and policy advocacy, “we will no longer be allowed [to] offer Youth & Government as an elective course for credit.” As the law puts restrictions on courses, not on extracurricular activities, the original club remains available.
The teacher who led the program resigned two months ago.