America occupies a unique position within contemporary Western civilization. Our nation’s position as the most prosperous and free society in world is derived from the traditions and culture embodied in our founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist.
In turn, these documents represent the legacy of Western Civilization, enshrining the notion that all men are created equal, and endowed with the unchangeable rights of life and liberty. Protecting and advancing these truths more than 200 years after the birth of the American nation demands a concerted effort to teach Western civilization and American traditions in Texas’ public schools and colleges so that a free people can understand and appreciate their intellectual root and thereby can live by them. Indeed, Article 7 of the Texas Constitution makes direct reference to the axiom that knowledge is necessary to preservation of the liberties and rights of people, which have eroded because of the lack of availability or emphasis on coursework necessary for that purpose.
The Task Force will discuss the role and importance of America’s core values in modern-day Texas. The Task Force will also examine policy proposals to further understanding of Western civilization and American traditions among students at state public schools and institutions of higher education. The Task Force will aim to build on the efforts of the 80th and 81st Legislatures: the 80th Legislature enacted House Bill 1287 allowing school districts to offer an elective course on the Bible and its impact on Western literature; the 81st Legislature considered legislation (House Bill 2746) that would have created a School of Ethics, Western Civilization, and American Traditions at the University of Texas at Austin.