Some politicians in the Texas Legislature are hyper-focused on adopting a far-right agenda while ignoring real issues and real people.
These Republican lawmakers are attempting to pass legislation which would require the posting of the 10 Commandments in every classroom in every public school in the state. Apparently, they believe doing so will result in amazing transformations within public schools.
Each school will have enough certified teachers who are well paid if this law is passed.
Each school will be safer from bullying and shootings because the 10 Commandments are on the wall.
Each school will see upticks in standardized test scores because the 10 Commandments will be an inspirational motivation for children to do their best every day.
Each child in public schools in Texas will be able to find enough food, adequate housing, safety and security because the 10 Commandments are easily seen in each classroom.
Of course, we know this ceremonial display will not accomplish any of these things. So, because their focus is on advancing Christian nationalism instead of addressing what schools really need — adequate funding, adequate teaching staff, and adequate safety for all kids – nothing will change.
Tragically, Republicans and Christian nationalists in Texas are waging a war on public education, which is one of the cornerstones of our free society.
In Texas, there were around six million school-aged children in the state in 2020. Most of them (around 5.4 million) were enrolled in public schools, with the remaining 600,00 enrolled in private schools or home schooled.
Public schools in Texas are educating 90% of school aged children in the state. However, the legislature has for some time attempted by legislation to undermine public education in Texas.
Taxpayer-funded public schools educate the diverse student population of the state. Some legislators seem to have a problem with that, because public schools have often been seen by these leaders as the mouthpiece for promoting the “traditional” narrative of both the history of America and the history of Texas.
The historic narrative about America and Texas has largely been written by white men and has not included a realistic picture of enslavement, Native American history during the colonial period, and Texas history.
The legislative efforts focused on social studies curriculum are attempts to “whitewash” both by first labeling more inclusive and truthful accounts as “woke” and then passing legislation that forbids the presentation of slavery and Native American history.
In addition, there are ongoing efforts to purge the public school libraries of material which do not support their narratives or their veneer of faith. Books related to racism and slavery, to LGBTQ rights and to other topics have been flagged for review in school and public libraries across the state, leading to protracted lawsuits playing out in the courts.
Third, some are seeking, through legislation, to intimidate, coerce and discount students whose experience, ethnicity and gender do not conform to these lawmakers’ ideology.
I would go so far as to say that some Texas lawmakers have once again declared war on some taxpayers and families because their lives and families do fit their personal beliefs.
You might ask, “Once again? When has that happened in Texas in the past?” I will point to the political war on people of color, undocumented immigrants, the “wrong” voters showing up at the voting booths, and now laws attacking LGBTQ+ rights.
In fact, Texas history could be written in the blood of those who were not white. And that history was largely written through the lens of white males.
With all the pressing problems in Texas, the legislature is voting on a bill to post the 10 Commandments in every public school classroom rather than addressing real areas of need.
To the issues of underpaid teachers, unsafe schools, underfunded public schools, the legislature believes it is a top priority to get the 10 Commandments on the walls in each school.
To my knowledge, there is no explanation of how that will keep our kids safe, facilitate learning or fill vacant teaching spots.
The Texas legislature is offering no solutions to the problems facing the state and are, instead, wasting time and resources on promoting Christian nationalism — and, of course, this is all being done at the taxpayers’ expense.
A private practice counselor working with veterans and survivors of trauma. Previously, Chancellor served four churches in Texas for 33 years, then ran a Mental Health Department of Alan B. Polunsky Maximum Security prison which houses death row.