Texas lawmaker demands districts provide lists of books on racism, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ

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The Fort Worth School District is among the districts in Texas that have received a request for information regarding more than 800 books that may be in libraries and classrooms.

Rep. Matt Krause, a Republican from Fort Worth who chairs the House General Inquiry Committee, sent an investigation Monday to a Texas Education Agency official and an unspecified number of school districts seeking information on books covering topics such as race and racism, the Black Lives Matter Movements, Sex and Sexuality, Abortion and LGBTQ Rights.

He asks districts to collect information on the number of books listed in schools, the cost of said books and information on other books in schools related to topics such as sexually transmitted diseases and “material that might bring students to experience discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or gender.

What is not clear from the emailed letter is exactly how many districts are subject to the request. The letter notes that “selected superintendents” received the investigation, but it does not name the officials.

The star telegram contacted dozens of districts to ask if they had received the letter, including Tarrant County Districts, five districts named in the letter as having removed books from classroom or library shelves, including Southlake Carroll, and some of the state’s most student districts.

Fort Worth Superintendent Kent Scribner said in a statement that the district would comply with the investigation.

“We follow all state approved processes to select new textbooks for our students. We select from state-approved lists, organize a committee of experienced educators to review options, provide a process for input to the public, and then make a final selection, ”said Scribner. “As for other reading materials, our senior professional school librarian oversees reviews of new titles and consults with national clearinghouses as well as other school librarians, educators and parents to provide the best and latest titles to our students. We have a process for parents to request a review of any title found in their campus library that may help raise a concern. “

This is another attempt by a legislator who envisions a higher office to consolidate the credibility of the streets with the political base by dividing parents and educators in the public education community.

Shannon Holmes, Executive Director of the Association of Texas Professional Educators

Krause previously declined to comment on the letter, including the intent of the investigation, citing an ongoing or potential investigation. The Texas attorney general candidate did not return a text Wednesday requesting information on the districts under investigation.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Texas Education Agency did not specify which school districts are affected by the request.

“The investigative power of the TEA derives from the provisions of the Texas Education Code,” the statement from the TEA said. “The legislative investigative power is outside the jurisdiction of the TEA, and any questions regarding such power should be directed to the committee. In addition, TEA does not comment on investigations that it has or has not opened and which have not yet been closed.

Other school districts that have confirmed receiving the letter are Katy, Austin, Leander, Cypress-Fairbanks, Northside, Spring Branch, Lake Travis, Conroe, Frisco, El Paso, Northwest, North East, Aldine, Eagle Mountain Saginaw and Hurst- Eless- Bedford.

“HEB ISD has received the request and we are currently working with our lawyers to determine our next steps,” said Deanne Hullender, spokesperson for HEB’s school district, in an email.

Districts that did not receive the letter include Fort Bend, Azle, Birdville, Crowley, Everman, Lake Worth, White Settlement, and Kennedale.

The request was criticized by educational groups in Texas, who called the investigation politically motivated.

“This is yet another attempt by a lawmaker to bolster the credibility of the street with the political base by dividing parents and educators in the public education community,” Shannon Holmes, director, said Tuesday. Executive of the Association of Texas Professional Educators. declaration.

State Representative Victoria Neave, a Democrat from Dallas who is deputy chair of the House General Committee of Inquiry, said she did not support Krause’s investigation in a statement Wednesday supported by many. House caucus. Neave described the demand as “yet another attempt by Republicans to censor the votes of people of color.”

“Now more than ever, educators should be empowered to offer students literature and resources to inspire them in knowing that they are not alone in meeting the challenges ahead,” she said. “Instead, we are once again reigniting past wedge issues at the expense of educating our next generation of leaders and wasting taxpayer dollars.”

Krause requested answers to his investigation by November 12.


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