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Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill establishing the "1836 Project" geared at promoting a heightened awareness of the state's values, including a "patriotic education" for students.
House Bill 2497 was filed by Republican state Rep. Tan Parker on March 1 and aims to establish the Texas 1836 Project, a nine-person committee that will serve two-year terms to promote and expand education centered on the state's "foundational principles," according to the legislation's text.
Supporters of the 1836 Project say the bill benefits those who have moved to Texas from other states and do not know the details of Texas history. The Texas Education Agency will be required to fund the project, including the provision of pamphlets offered to the Texas Department of Public Safety to give to new residents in the state.
Critics of the measure raised concerns about the nine-member committee that would be appointed by the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the House speaker, saying that the committee could become a partisan group if elected leaders only nominate members of their respective party.
Other issues have been raised about Texas House Bill 3979, which is awaiting the governor's approval. The measure, which is seen as a conservative response to quash critical race theory in Texas curricula, would limit how state educators can discuss current events and racism in America.
The law outlines specific historical topics that should be part of the project, including indigenous people, the state’s Spanish and Mexican heritage, Tejanos, and Juneteenth, according to the House Committee Report on the bill. The legislation does not expound upon how these topics will be contextualized in the greater teaching of U.S. history.
Some have pointed out that the name of the initiative mirrors the Pulitzer-Prize-winning 1619 Project that was written by New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones and sees U.S. history and the founding from the date when enslaved people arrived on North American soil.
The bill is estimated to cost roughly $2.3 million through Aug. 31, 2023. The bill will go into effect on Sept. 1, 2021.
The Washington Examiner contacted the governor's office but did not immediately receive a response.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese