Most teachers enter our profession because they love kids and want to teach. However, far too many leave their jobs due to a lack of respect; extraneous external pressure, and general frustration. Of course, many teachers are likely to stay, even though they feel “locked in.” Yet, they yearn for greater freedom to teach and to be free from divisive government mandates.
Innovative Teachers of Texas (ITT) applauds the Texas Legislature for passing House Bill 3979 and Gov. Greg Abbott for signing it into law. Now we urge the Legislature to stay strong and not weaken the guidelines as carefully articulated in the bill.
HB 3979 holds that teachers may not be compelled to discuss particular current events or any particular issues of public policy or social affairs.
ITT is a new organization created by teachers – to give us a “conservative” choice in professional teacher representation, in contrast with the long-tenured Texas teachers organizations.
All four major Texas teacher associations testified against the bill; ITT did not.
Just like the Texas branch of the NEA [Texas State Teachers Association] and the AFT (Texas Federation of Teachers), the other two Texas organizations, Association of Texas Professional Educators [ATPE] and Texas Classroom Teachers Association [TCTA], also effectively endorsed the teaching of the critical race theory (CRT) in Texas by opposing this critical bill. Bottom line all four major teachers organizations aligned themselves with the radical left.
ITT believes in free speech, critical thinking, open dialogue, brainstorming, empowering teachers and students, and edifying the professionalism in education. HB 3979 bars teachers from being ordered to teach the concept that racism is systemic and embedded in our legal systems. We view its mandated teaching as an unnecessary overreach. Texans overwhelmingly oppose its teaching. And most kids today are more inclusive than ever in their view of the world they live in.
The agenda that teaches the critical race theory unnecessarily creates schisms, sometimes even between like-minded people. Educators want the best for all. We want to keep students safe. We want to see our students prosper. When you divide teachers, mentors, and leaders in a school, it paralyzes us in our jobs to nurture children.
Under Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the first needs are food and water, then comes shelter, and then comes love. And only after you have all of those, can you start to learn. It seems that CRT stops us in our tracks right around love, loving ourselves.
The new law contains changes teachers will have to know about as they head back into their classrooms. ITT is a resource for teachers to fully understand HB 3979.
Make no mistake, ITT supports teachers who want to bring current events into their classrooms. We promote free speech; we're pro-dialogue; we're pro-conversation, and we're pro-critical thinking.
Jennifer Winter is a teacher and director of Innovative Teachers of Texas. She earned B.A. in Spanish from Western Washington University and M.A. in Educational Administration from Seattle University. She taught Spanish in public and private schools in Washington State for 11 years. She taught with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Oakland, CA for two years. www.ittexas.org. Her email is Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org