AUSTIN, Texas — On the heels of Republican-led efforts to prevent the teaching of critical race theory in Texas schools, Gov. Greg Abbott has signed House Bill 2497, which ushers in the creation of the 1836 Project.
The Republic of Texas was established in March 1836.
According to Abbott, the 1836 Project “promotes patriotic education & ensures future generations understand TX values.”
A May analysis outlines the bill:
“CSHB 2497 would establish the 1836 Project as an advisory committee to promote patriotic education and increase awareness of Texas values. Patriotic education would include the presentation of the history of the state's founding and foundational principles, examination of how Texas has grown closer to those principles throughout its history, and explanation of why commitment to those principles is beneficial and justified.
“The 1836 Project would be composed of nine members who would serve two-year terms and could not be removed except for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance. The governor, lieutenant governor, and House speaker each would appoint three members, and the governor would appoint one member as the presiding officer to convene regular meetings and coordinate and direct project activities.”
It's been pointed out that state curriculum already includes a great deal of Texas history and education, particularly for middle school students.
In 2020 former President Donald Trump’s administration produced a report that promoted “patriotic education” in schools which historians mocked and rejected as political propaganda, an Associated Press report points out.
In the report, which Trump hoped would be used in classrooms across the nation, the commission glorifies the country’s founders, plays down America’s role in slavery, condemns the rise of progressive politics and argues that the civil rights movement ran afoul of the “lofty ideals” espoused by the Founding Fathers.
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden revoked the report and disbanded Trump’s presidential 1776 commission.
In a video accompanying Abbott’s signature of the bill, he said, “To keep Texas the best state in the United States of America, we must never forget why Texas became so exceptional in the first place. A law creating the 1836 Project does that.”
Abbott said the law will extend beyond the classroom and educate newcomers to the state.
“Under this law, every newcomer to Texas who gets a driver’s license will also get a pamphlet that outlines Texas’ rich history as well as the principles that makes Texas … Texas," Abbott said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.