As parents across the state fight to remove explicit materials and critical race theory (CRT) from their children’s schools, a group of citizens is demanding Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) dismantle its Equity and Excellence department before the 2022-2023 school year.
Equity and Excellence
According to the equity department’s website, the division exists to “ensure equity in all practices and at all organizational levels in FWISD by providing professional development to educate others on the impact of institutionalized racism and equity, specifically racial equity, on student achievement.”
In 2021, FWISD spent more than $2 million of taxpayer money on race and equity efforts, including seminars instructing staff to “build racial consciousness by first providing opportunities for participants to build their racial equity lens and interrogate their personal biases.”
The district also provided lucrative salaries for equity department employees, with two executive directors making more than $120,000 each.
Citizens also criticized the department after Racial Equity Committee Co-chair Norma Garcia-Lopez doxxed parents on social media. When a group of parents protested the school district’s mask mandate in 2021, Garcia-Lopez released their addresses, phone numbers, and the name of their childrens’ school. She subsequently resigned and blamed her departure on “white supremacists.”
Turcios, a former FWISD student and Racial Equity Committee member, said Garcia-Lopez’ attacks on parents demonstrates why the department should be dismantled.
“Norma resigned in disgrace due to her unprofessional and despicable attempt to destroy the livelihoods of FWISD parents that were fighting against a mask mandate,” said Turcios. “Norma showed us what the Equity movement is all about in FWISD. A toxic movement that only promotes division and hatred.”
After Garcia-Lopez’ resignation, the district faced increased pressure from concerned parents over sexually explicit books and CRT. Following protests, FWISD trustee Jacinto Ramos and Superintendent Kent Scribner announced their resignations in March 2022. Parents criticized Ramos and Scribner for encouraging the district to adopt CRT in classroom instruction and teacher training.
Despite Ramos’ and Scribner’s resignations, FWISD still promotes divisive ideologies. Recent training for English as a Second Language teachers included children’s books supporting LGBT behaviors and instructions to “embrac[e] the idea that lesson planning is a political act.”
However, after last week’s march protesting the Equity and Excellence department, reports are circulating that Chief of Equity and Excellence Sherry Breed may resign later this month. Turcios pointed to the rash of resignations as evidence the district is paying attention to concerned citizens.
“The Equity Department needs to be dismantled, and all forms of wokeness need to be removed,” said Turcios.
“With Scribner and Ramos resigning, and now with the news of Sherry Breed resigning, this shows us that the board is listening and that changes are coming. This is positive news for all FWISD residents that want accountability and a complete overhaul of FWISD.”