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Texas judge halts Texas law meant to re-shape left-leaning history board

By Jimmy Adeel
|
May 31, 2023

The teaching of state history in Texas schools is set for a significant review following a recent court ruling by Galveston County Judge Kerry Neves of the 10th District Court.

The ruling granted a temporary injunction that halted the operations of the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), pending the resolution of a dispute over the composition of the board, as reported by the Fox News.

Temporary Injunction Imposed on TSHA

The legal dispute was initiated by the association's executive director, J.P. Bryan, who lodged a temporary restraining order against TSHA President Nancy Baker Jones.

Bryan alleges that the current board is in violation of its bylaws. The rules dictate that the board should be equally comprised of 10 academics and 10 non-academics.

However, the board now includes 12 academics and only eight non-academics.

Bryan maintains this imbalance has tipped the ideological balance of the board to the left, influencing the content presented to students across Texas.

Defendants, on the other hand, have accused Bryan of undermining non-Anglo communities' role in Texas history.

According to a legal filing, defendants in the case have alleged that Bryan is attempting a power grab within the organization.

They accuse him of leveraging the court system to prevent the board from convening and of endeavoring to gloss over historical truths.

Bryan contends that the issue at hand transcends politics or personal historical interpretations. He suggests it primarily involves compliance with the organization's bylaws.

Bryan likens the issue to the simple task of counting the number of items in a jar, insisting that facts and compliance should be self-evident.

Next Steps in the Legal Dispute

Within the next 45 days, Judge Neves is set to preside over a motion seeking to change the venue of the trial from Galveston to Austin. Meanwhile, a trial on the case is slated to commence Sept. 11.

Eric Lipper, attorney for Bryan said, "Today couldn't have gone any better, I could tell the court was comfortable in its ruling," as reported by the Houston Chronicle.

The trial holds potential ramifications for the teaching of state history in Texas schools. The association's ideological leanings can influence educational content due to its authority over research material and educational programs about Lone Star State.

The Impact of the TSHA on Texas Education

Since its foundation in 1897, the TSHA has played an instrumental role in Texas history education. Their range of publications, including the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, the Texas Almanac, and the Handbook of Texas, is frequently utilized by teachers and authors.

Moreover, their content influences exhibits at historical sites throughout Texas, from urban museums to Spanish missions and renowned revolutionary battlefields.

These activities and publications are funded by taxpayer money received from the Texas Legislature.