New video footage published by the watchdog group Accuracy in Media shows administrators in several North Texas and San Antonio school districts admitting that a recently enacted state law purportedly banning critical race theory is largely ignored.
The video features a number of secretly recorded conversations with school district staff acknowledging that the 2021 law prohibiting teachers or administrators from promoting critical race theory tenets has not affected classroom instruction or district practices.
When asked by an undercover reporter if the law has had a tangible effect in their district, several administrators confirmed it had not prompted any changes.
“I don’t think so,” said Evan Whitfield, director of science at Coppell Independent School District. “The bottom line is we’ve gotten around it by saying, ‘Well, we’re just not teaching that.’”
Brad Cloud, the director of instructional technology at South San Antonio ISD, said, “I think we just fly under the radar because I have not heard. I mean, I’ve heard that conversation. But I haven’t heard it here.”
Wendy Dutton, the human resources director for McKinney ISD, said, “There’s lots of things that are coming through. We kind of take it one step at a time. I don’t feel like we’ve knocked anything out that we’ve already done. Like, we haven’t banned any books or haven’t done anything yet.”
Some staff members suggested they believe the law prohibits teaching about the history of slavery or the oppression of minorities in the United States, insisting they still have to teach the subjects outlined in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards.
“We go back to our TEKS, and if it’s in our TEKS, we have to teach it,” said Jennifer Gutierrez, director of elementary curriculum at North East ISD in San Antonio.
Anna Marie Yarborough, the director of social studies at Richardson ISD, said, “All of the things that might challenge critical race theory are still in our state curriculum, which is mandated by law.”
Angie Knight, the curriculum coordinator for Lancaster ISD, said, “We are majority African-American. And so, I can tell you that there are some things that just won’t happen—you know, if that makes sense—because the majority of your clientele are minority children. You know, there are going to be things that will never be—no matter what anyone tells us, we’re not going to eliminate that.”
This interpretation is not consistent with the text of the law, however, and may be attributed to inaccurate portrayals by progressive news organizations.
Rather than ban the teaching of slavery’s history in the United States, the law prohibits “inculcation in the concept that … the advent of slavery in the territory that is now the United States constituted the true founding of the United States,” or that “slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to the authentic founding principles of the United States, which include liberty and equality.”
Furthermore, it bars school employees from implementing policies derived from the idea that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
While some administrators said they haven’t really seen any changes since the law’s passage, others admitted their district actively opposes its objectives.
“We do not follow much of, like, what Abbott is trying to get us to do,” said Marisa Perez, the English language arts and reading content coordinator at Edgewood ISD. “The superintendent really does what he believes is best for kids, and not necessarily what is popular with the crowd or politics at the time.”
When asked if her district had any “MAGA parents pushing back,” North East ISD Assistant Director of Secondary Social Studies Millie Reynolds acknowledged, “There are a few, but they don’t win the argument. … Nobody wants to go through that process. What they want to do is talk about it on TV to get votes.”
“So these anti-CRT laws are just to placate voters?” asked the undercover reporter.
“Exactly,” replied Reynolds.
“So … whatever stuff they did might have appeased constituents or whatever, but in practicality, it’s not going to mess with education?” the reporter asked her to confirm.
“Right,” she replied.
Accuracy in Media, whose mission is to “expose media bias, corruption, and public policy failings,” was founded in 1969 and is currently led by Adam Guillette, the former vice president of Project Veritas.
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