Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill on Friday that established the “1836 project,” designed to promote uniquely Texan values and provide patriotic education in Texas schools, the Washington Examiner reported.
“To keep Texas the best state in the nation, we can never forget WHY our state is so exceptional,” Abbott said in a tweet touting the signing.
To keep Texas the best state in the nation, we can never forget WHY our state is so exceptional.
I signed a law establishing the 1836 project, which promotes patriotic education & ensures future generations understand TX values.
Together, we’ll keep our rich history alive. pic.twitter.com/4yZuygS2yX
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 7, 2021
The bill creates a nine-person committee that will promote and expand education centered on the state’s “foundational principles,” according to the Examiner.
Making Texas history known
Part of the reason given for the legislation’s existence is the large number of people that have recently moved to Texas who are likely to be unfamiliar with Texas history.
The program will be funded by the Texas Education agency, and will include the creation of promotional pamphlets that will be given to those who move into the state.
Critics of the bill pointed out that it could become partisan because the committee members are appointed by the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the Speaker of the state House. All three of these positions are currently held by Republicans, and there is concern that they will only appoint members of their own party.
Critics have also expressed concern about another new Texas law, which bans the teaching of critical race theory in the state’s schools.
Topics that will be taught as part of the initiative, and are specified in the law, include indigenous people, the state’s Spanish and Mexican heritage, Tejanos and Juneteenth.
The law does not specify how these topics should be taught and put into the context of overall American history.
The name of the project seems to echo the 1619 Project, first published in The New York Times by Nikole Hannah-Jones, which is now being used as a curriculum in some schools. The 1619 Project posits that America’s founding was not in 1776, but in 1619 because that’s when the first slaves were brought to what is now the U.S.
The curriculum of Hannah-Jones’ project teaches that white people are oppressors and that the U.S. is a systemically racist country — ideas that the 1836 Project is surely meant to counter.