Fort Worth Independent School District has wholeheartedly bought into the tenets of critical race theory, committing to CRT and embedding it into the very fabric of the district. The district has spent a considerable amount of money on it, but some Fort Worth citizens say it is not being well spent. 

In the overview of services handbook provided by FWISD’s equity and excellence department, Sherry Breed, the department chief, states:

FWISD has started on a courageous journey to dismantle institutional and systemic racism in our district. To address these systemic issues, the Division of Equity and Excellence was established. Since being established, the Division has provided a plethora of seminars to provide opportunities to build racial consciousness by first providing opportunities for participants to build their racial equity lens and interrogate their personal biases.

Those seminars came with a price. The Pacific Education Group (PEG) has partnered with FWISD to provide training and consulting for their program, Courageous Conversations. 

Texas Scorecard requested invoices from PEG and found that the district has spent more than a million dollars on consulting fees, training seminars, and equity walks since 2015.

The consulting fees for a PEG employee to attend one equity meeting in August of 2016 cost the district $1,650. The meetings for the Race Equity Committee only last an average of an hour and a half. For the four meetings held between late February and early March of 2016, the consulting fees for seminars and equity walks cost the district more than $41,000. 

The annual licensing fee for more than 3,000 teachers during the 2018-2019 school year was $25,300, based on an invoice dated July 13, 2018; in the 2019-2020 school year, the licensing fees totaled $26,565.

On March 24, 2018, Courageous Conversations spoke at the FWISD Race Equity Summit. The cost to the district—for one person to speak twice—was $6,000. 

The Pacific Education Group also charged the district $22,300 for consulting with My Brother’s Keeper, an organization founded by Barack Obama that has a chapter in FWISD. Insider videos of the organization show how students are treated and being taught to participate in militant chants.

“The people being invited into our schools to give presentations that students are pulled from regular classes to attend should be vetted and monitored for the accuracy and quality of the content they are exposing our students to. Some of the individuals being given an audience of our students are exposing them to historical falsehoods disguised as facts. This runs counter to any reasonable view of education,” said a FWISD teacher who wished to remain anonymous. 

By allocating large sums of taxpayer dollars to the equity and excellence department, FWISD has committed to promoting critical race theory. According to information received from the open records request, during the 2020-2021 school year, the district budgeted $1,310,372 for operating and another $789,448 for the salaries of eight employees, including Sherry Breed’s annual salary of $202,318. The budget also included two executive directors, Mia Hall and Dorene Benavidez, who each making more than $120,000.

The budget and salaries combined equal $2,099,820 a year that FWISD is spending on race and equity efforts.

“The money being used to play to the radical leftist crowd should be used to benefit the children of the district rather than playing politics,” said a FWISD employee who wished to remain anonymous. 

Fort Worth citizen Tatiana Miller told Texas Scorecard, “What if FWISD spent the same amount of money and effort into helping our children read and do math at grade level that they spend on CRT? One in three children has dyslexia, and FWISD does not have enough reading specialists? That money could be spent on actual needed resources. FWISD chooses to underserve its students academically in an effort to brainwash our children. Stick to teaching academics, and let social and moral values be the parents’ responsibilities.” 

Citizens and employees of FWISD may contact Texas Scorecard with information on spending or questionable teaching by the equity and excellence department. 

Tera Collum

Tera Collum has 13 years experience as a government and economics teacher in Texas public schools. She recently was the director of The Travis Institute of Educational Policy and Teachers for Texas.