To catch you up: HB 3979 is the new Texas law that attempts to protect racists from getting their feelings hurt. Sorry, I’m showing my bias. I am biased against nonsense. Read the thing for yourself if you want to. Anyway, the law led an administrator in Carroll ISD to tell teachers there that if they had any books about the Holocaust in their classrooms, they also should have a book presenting an “opposing” view. The folks at NBC News broke this story yesterday.
Today the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum sent a note from Mary Pat Higgins, their president and CEO, and Mark Zilbermann, their board chair, that shows their own bias against nonsense. They are appalled by what’s going on in Southlake. Here’s the full text:
Last week, a Carroll Independent School District Administrator advised teachers to offer books with an “opposing view” on the Holocaust if they have a Holocaust-related book in their classroom.
This direction was given in response to the district’s struggle to comply with a new Texas law (known as HB 3979) that requires teachers who choose to discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy and social affairs to strive to explore the topic from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective.
The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is appalled to learn what was suggested by the Administrator at Carroll ISD. The district’s response illustrates the dangers of this new legislation – mandating that historical facts be taught alongside an opposing view.
The challenge with legislation limiting educators’ ability to teach historical fact is the question of who decides if an issue is controversial or whether contending perspectives are worthy of instruction. The Holocaust is one of the world’s most well-documented historical events. Our Holocaust Survivors are a living testament to the accuracy of the history we teach at our museum — the deliberate, cruel, and systematic murder of 6 million Jews.
Should the beliefs of Holocaust deniers be provided as “opposing views?” When students learn about slavery, should they also be forced to read accounts that deny the horrors of slavery? The answer to these questions must be a resounding “no!”
We call upon all Texans to speak out against this requirement to present “opposing views” to events and developments based in well-known historical fact. Teachers should not be pushed to present myth, opinion, or bias as equal to the historical record. Our future depends on our youth learning difficult history, so they may build a better future for us all.