Texas Lawmaker Proposes ‘1836 Project’ to Promote Education of ‘Texas Values’

March 5, 2021 Updated: April 14, 2021

A Texas lawmaker has unveiled plans for a committee that would promote education focusing on the history and values of the Lone Star Republic.

State Rep. Tan Parker, a Republican, on Monday introduced the bill (pdf) that would establish the 1836 Project, an advisory committee designed to “promote patriotic education and increase awareness of the Texas values that continue to stimulate boundless prosperity across this state.”

Specifically, the “patriotic education” includes the presentation of the history of the state’s founding and foundational principles, examination of how the state has grown closer to those principles throughout history, and explanation of why commitment to those principles is beneficial and justified.

According to the bill, the committee would also focus on raising awareness about major historical events that shaped the state, such as the Texas Revolution of 1836, the annexation of Texas by the United States, and Juneteenth, which marks the abolition of slavery across the state.

“Throughout recent years, we have witnessed the destruction of historical monuments as many attempt to rewrite the past,” Parker said in a press release. “Many of our children are taught to denounce Texas history and do not understand what it means to be a virtuous citizen.”

In addition, the 1836 Committee would also be tasked to advise state agencies on how to ensure “patriotic education is provided to the public” at state parks, museums, historical landmarks, and other places important to the founding of Republic of Texas, and later, the U.S. state of Texas.

“Civic education should not be limited to the classroom,” Parker told the Dallas Morning News.

Despite bearing a remarkably similar name, the 1836 Project is “exclusively about celebrating Texas” and has nothing to do with the New York Time’s 1619 Project or former President Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission, Parker said.

Established near the end of Trump’s first term as president, the 1776 Commission was commonly seen as a direct counter to the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project, which portrays the United States as an inherently racist nation. The Biden administration dissolved the commission and tossed their first and last report, saying that their work “has sought to erase America’s history of racial injustice.”

Parker’s proposal echoed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s 2021 State of the State address, which called for an education that teaches the next generation of Texans that their state is “the best in the nation.”

“We must educate them what it means to be an American and what it means to be a Texan,” said the Republican governor, who is not involved in the proposed 1836 Project. “We must bolster civics education in our classrooms and ensure that every child learns the values of freedom, good governance, and patriotism.”