Amid a nationwide parent movement opposing divisive public school policies rooted in critical race theory, Texas parents are rejecting local school boards’ “equity” standards and “woke” curricula they say are failing to improve students’ education while further dividing them by identity groups.
Or as one Central Texas parent describes it, “being divisive under the guise of standing against divisiveness.”
Racial “equity” and “gender identity” policies based in critical race theory have been seeping into the K-12 school system for years, gaining traction during the Obama administration.
Critical race theory posits that racism is engrained in all American systems and institutions (including education) because they are based in “white privilege” and “white supremacy,” so people identified as belonging to certain groups should be treated differently to make up for past injustices.
Public discussions about critical race theory exploded in 2020 as Black Lives Matter protests raged across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody.
At the same time, COVID shutdowns were forcing public school students to access online classes from home—giving many Texas moms and dads their first look at what local schools were teaching their kids.
This year, with Democrats taking control in Washington, D.C., the push to force the left’s “woke” identity politics from the national level down to local school districts escalated.
Parents’ protests against what they view as political indoctrination also escalated.
Fort Worth Independent School District—an urban district with more than 83,000 students and 11,000 employees—is a prime example, though far from the only one.
The district’s “diversity, equity and inclusion” policies, clearly rooted in critical race theory, date back more than five years.
In 2016, the school board created a “racial equity committee,” then adopted a Racial and Ethnic Equity Policy that “outlines institutional racism throughout our system.”
Two years later, a Fort Worth school board member openly lectured high school students about critical race theory, telling them Latinos are locked in a struggle against institutional racial bias from “white America.”
By 2021, it was clear Fort Worth ISD was fixated on putting “racial equity” above all else, with one official acknowledging it is “infused in all of our work.”
Fort Worth parents took notice and began calling on the district to remove CRT from its policies and curricula.
Similar actions and reactions have occurred in school districts across Texas all year.
Another disturbing trend is local school officials denying that critical race theory is taught in their districts, even as parents expose teachers being trained in how to incorporate CRT principles into classrooms.
Though lawmakers passed a bill purporting to “abolish critical race theory in Texas” during this year’s regular legislative session—then adopted yet another CRT ban bill in September—school districts in cities and suburbs are still pursuing racially divisive policies.
Despite intimidation from school board members, parents are continuing to speak out against CRT and other troubling policies pushed by liberal and establishment school officials.
Texas parents have also shown they’re prepared to replace public school officials who don’t address their concerns.
Carroll ISD elected three new anti-CRT, pro-parent school board members in 2021, following parents’ backlash against a controversial “Cultural Competence Action Plan” that included hiring a “Director of Equity” to police student accusations of “microaggressions,” and required a curriculum focused on diversity and more “diversity training” for teachers.
The plan was officially scrapped this month as a result of allegations that some school board members violated the Texas Open Meetings Act to push through the CCAP.
Most of the radical policies promoting CRT ideology that now permeate the K-12 education establishment are passed down from the far-left National Schools Boards Association, which feeds the policies to local officials via its state affiliate, the Texas Association of School Boards.
As part of the recent backlash against the NSBA for comparing parents fighting harmful school district policies to “domestic terrorism” and TASB’s refusal to leave the national organization, some Texans are calling on local districts to ditch TASB—and critical race theory.
Texas parents want public schools to provide their kids a quality education, not divisive political indoctrination.