At a recent Texas Association of School Boards conference, a breakout session included lawyers instructing school board members and administrators on ways to circumvent the critical race theory ban in K-12 government schools.
A recent undercover investigation by Accuracy in Media showed several lawyers from the firm Thompson & Horton LLP advising how educators can continue using The 1619 Project in the classroom.
The 1619 Project was created by Nikole Hannah-Jones and authors from the New York Times with the purpose of reframing American history by placing race at the center. The series, often used as school curricula, has been criticized for its historical revisions and questionable factual accuracy.
Senate Bill 3, passed in 2021, was meant to abolish critical race theory (CRT) in K-12 classrooms and specifically mentions The 1619 Project.
The law prohibits “requiring an understanding” of The 1619 Project. Still, teachers can continue to provide articles or other resources from The 1619 Project as long as they aren’t “required,” Ashley L. White, a senior associate for Thompson & Horton, told administrators.
“It doesn’t prohibit a teacher from having The 1619 Project, among a number of other books that these students could select from related to a project,” White said. “It also doesn’t prohibit a teacher from assigning an article that might have a concept from The 1619 Project.”
One attendee asked if they could have copies of The 1619 Project in their library.
“You, sir, you’re exactly right,” Oleg Nudelman, another presenter, said. “What you cannot do with The 1619 Project is assign it as required reading. Because that would be arguably requiring an understanding of it, right?”
White told the school board members and administrators present they’d have to keep Senate Bill 3 guidelines in mind, but “there’s very easy ways to take them [into] consideration and still continue to have those DEI efforts.”
The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) is a taxpayer-funded association and has previously been criticized for holding conferences relating to racial “equity” and advising schools to allow gender-confused minors to use the bathroom of the opposite sex.
Carroll Independent School District voted to leave TASB earlier this year. The decision was celebrated by lawmakers like State Sen. Mayes Middleton (R–Galveston), who blasted TASB for being “anti-parent.”
Texas Scorecard has reported on several Accuracy in Media investigations where school districts in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Austin were caught attempting to circumvent the statewide ban on CRT.