North Texas Parents Crusade Against Critical Race Theory, Which Isn't Taught in Public Schools

To be clear: CRT isn't being taught in Texas public schools.
To be clear: CRT isn't being taught in Texas public schools. Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash
North Texas students are up against some serious problems, from COVID-19 infections to long-term learning loss. But some in the state’s school districts seem far more focused on protecting children against a nonexistent enemy: critical race theory.

Critical race theory (CRT) is a decades-old academic concept that states racism is embedded throughout the country’s policies and legal systems, according to Education Week. Districts deny that it's being taught in North Texas schools, but that isn’t stopping conservatives from using it as kindling to burn educators at the stake.

Carroll ISD
Last week, NBC News reported that a high-ranking administrator at Carroll ISD in Southlake told teachers that they should offer students an “opposing” perspective if they have books about the Holocaust in their room. Audio of the instruction touched off a media firestorm, with national outlets like The New York Times and Washington Post covering the story.

For more than a year, some Carroll ISD parents have fought against an effort to introduce diversity and inclusion programs to schools, according to NBC News, which has also produced a podcast about the district’s turmoil called Southlake. More broadly, the controversy touches on a national movement of parents who don't want their kids to be taught about America's history of racism.

Many educators deny that critical race theory is even taught at Carroll ISD.

Grapevine-Colleyville ISD

Most anti-critical race activists insist that they aren’t racist, but that isn’t stopping many of them from targeting Black educators. In Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, for instance, a Black principal was suspended earlier this fall after he was accused of implementing CRT in school curriculum. Last month in a unanimous vote, the district decided against renewing his contract.

The principal, James Whitfield, also said he was asked in 2019 to take down photos from his Facebook that depicted him and his wife, who is white, embracing on the beach.

And again, district officials deny that critical race theory is taught at Grapevine-Colleyville ISD.

Midlothian ISD
After news broke that a Midlothian ISD board of trustees member had donned blackface for Halloween, the district created a position for a director of diversity, equity and inclusion. Soon, though, conservative parents took aim at the new director, who is Black, and called for her firing.

Earlier this year, a group calling itself Respect Midlothian 1888 began demanding the termination of Chalisa Fain. They also claimed the school district was indoctrinating their children in CRT.

Wait for it: District officials deny that critical race theory is taught at Midlothian ISD.

Fort Worth ISD
In June, a Fort Worth ISD school board meeting erupted over critical race theory, with police having to escort one woman out of the room, according to Spectrum News. Although some praised the district for its work toward reaching equity, others took the opportunity to condemn CRT.

At the meeting, a former student led an anti-CRT protest and had also organized “The March Against Critical Race Theory" earlier that day.

“We need a different approach to helping our Black and Hispanic students. Not CRT,” he wrote on social media. “We need to empower them by emphasizing the importance of having a family, individualism, appreciation, learning entrepreneurship skills and more.”

District officials deny that critical race theory is taught at Fort Worth ISD.

Plano ISD

In Plano, conservative activists have protested against the district containing CRT in its curriculum, even though there’s no evidence to support that it’s being taught there, according to the Plano Star Courier. Even still, some speakers slammed trustees at a school board meeting earlier this year.

“Critical race theory and its acronymic twin, culturally relevant teaching, are ideological cancers, and they have no place in our schools,” one speaker said, according to that outlet.

“We had better and right soon return to a patriotic education that emphasizes these shared values and dispenses with abhorrent, junk theories that breed animosity and assign broad, ethnic guilt,” he continued.

You guessed it: District officials deny that critical race theory is taught at Plano ISD.
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter