Texas Clips 11/8/21
“Emboldened by their success in 2020, national Republicans are trying to make inroads in areas of Texas that are considered Democratic Party strongholds.It’s part of a national strategy to improve outreach in minority communities. Members of the Republican National Committee have opened what they call community centers in blue areas across the country. Of the 10 centers that they’ve christened in advance of the 2022 midterm elections, four are in Texas. The first three centers debuted in McAllen, Laredo and San Antonio.“
“The theory behind the community centers is simple. Open offices in areas where Democrats have been winning in order to sell a GOP message of family values, limited government and pursuit of the American dream. The community centers are glorified campaign offices that offer more than a place to host phone banks or meetings. They are also designed to be actual community centers, albeit with a conservative theme.
In Cleveland, a Republican community center hosts Cleveland Browns football watch parties.”
“Heightened scrutiny over how schools teach history — and whether it was patriotic enough or indoctrinating kids — spurred the Texas lawmakers to investigate.
Five House members were charged with studying the state’s textbooks with the desire that they emphasized the “glowing and throbbing history of hearts and souls inspired by wonderful American principles and traditions.”
The year was 1962.
Now new fears about censorship in Texas classrooms have reignited as a state lawmaker opened an investigation into districts that carry any of the hundreds of books he’s listed that largely deal with race, gender identity or sexuality.”
“Now recent maneuvers at the Texas Capitol to investigate books and curriculum echo this era, historians and educators say. Lawmakers spent months on anti-critical race theory bills that restricted how teachers discuss racism and current events in the classroom or promoted “patriotic education.”
And in late October, Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, launched an investigation into whether schools have purchased or stocked any of the more than 800 books he’s identified. He also asked schools to identify any content or curriculum that “might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” because of their race or sex.
Krause has declined to comment on how he chose the books on his 16-page list, which districts are under investigation or on any possible repercussions for schools that admit to carrying such texts.
In a recent radio interview, Krause said the list of books was not exhaustive and noted that even if a book is on the list, it may not mean it is “problematic.” It could mean that it has some content that may be touched by new laws passed by the Legislature, he added.
But educators see the Fort Worth Republican’s investigation as “akin to the Red Scare, but this time with scurrilous accusations against our teachers and librarians,” said Zeph Capo, the president of the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, in a statement.”
Goudeau: So let’s chat a little bit about the grades Texas earned for its maps starting with the State House map. Talk to us about the grade for that one.
Brewer: “Sure. So the final State House map in Texas received an overall grade of C. It received a C in partisan fairness, an F in competitiveness and then a C in geographic features. And on the partisan fairness front, which is a central focus of our analysis, that map looks like it’s going to produce a slight Republican advantage, and it also looks like it’s going to advantage incumbents, so people who are already elected to office will probably have an advantage in keeping their seats under this map.”
Goudeau: Alright. What about the State Senate?
Brewer: “Sure, so the final State Senate map did receive an F on our report card … It looks like it is going to produce a significant Republican advantage and again, that incumbent advantage we’re seeing in our data analysis of the State Senate map. And it looks like it’s only going to produce one competitive district out of all the possible districts, and that contributes to that low grade and competitiveness and partisan fairness.”