Fort Worth ISD Board Keeps Parents Waiting to Talk Race Theory

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Fort Worth ISD school council meeting could have started at 5.30pm on Monday evening, but around 30 parents were not allowed to voice their concerns on general topics until midnight – that’s if they could have waited that long.

Although there was a short period earlier in the meeting for public comments, according to board rules they must be specific to the board’s skeletal agenda. Otherwise, the parents are cut off. A few days before Monday’s board meeting, the school board pushed back the time for general public comment for parents until late at night, which is after midnight.

Most were willing to wait so long because they are angry and demanding to be heard: Children’s reading scores drop as the district preoccupies itself with critical race theory and some schools still demand masks. And yet, many parents feel that the school board makes it difficult to listen to their concerns.

The late hour and exasperated tone may be a sign that the focus on school policies in the wake of the pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon.

A robust section of the seven-hour ordeal included a public hearing with three parents and their attorney, Warren Norred, taking the district to task over the existence of his Racial Equity Committee.

Norred, who also races for State Senate in District 10 during the Republican primary, chastised the district for its commitment to imposing racial theories on children under the guise of helping them, despite the fact that the district continues to see appalling academic performance.

Norred pointed out the flaws in that philosophy during Monday night’s meeting. “It focuses on racial and ethnic disparities and never talks about income. If you have a wealthy two-parent household, that child will do better…but that’s not reflected here. It seems to assume stereotypical things based on skin color, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to do,” he said.

Norred told the board that the Equity Committee new resolution is not legal when held against SB3, the Texas education law that alters parts of the social studies curriculum to strengthen civics.

The resolution “says it will fight systemic racism and perpetual white supremacy. There is no systemic racism in Fort Worth ISD that I can find. I would like you to show it to me,” Norred said. He urged the school to drop the more extreme aspects that break the law before a trial becomes necessary.

“[This is] outright racism,” Norred said. The parents burst into applause when Norred finished, even though they weren’t going to have their speaking platform (one to three minutes each) for another two hours. Although dozens of parents had to leave given the late hour, about 30 stayed.

When Amie Super approached the podium, facetiously dressed in a dress to signal to the administrators how late the hour was, she called administrator Jacinto Ramos Jr. for revising a children’s book instead of focus on parent talk.

“I don’t belong to you,” Ramos replied angrily. “You are not my constituents. You can’t talk to me like that.

After midnight Holly Plemmons, mother of three at Fort Worth ISD was one of the last women to speak and she begged the council to work with the parents. “Each of us here represents thousands,” she said. “We are the ones here at midnight able to talk to you, but you are making it so difficult for parents. … If you continue with this lack of transparency, things will get worse.

Plemmons’ sentiments encapsulate how so many parents nationwide seem to feel about districts moving forward with stories, blind to data, parent concerns or children’s progress. Whether it’s masks, explicit books or a race-based curriculum, parents now know what schools are doing and many don’t like it.

She’s right: these skirmishes are just the beginning.

This story was originally published February 25, 2022 10:23 a.m.

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Nicole Russell is a writer and mother of four who has covered law, politics and cultural issues for The Washington Examiner, The Daily Signal, The Atlantic and The New York Post. She was voted “most argumentative” in high school and is proud to have discovered that being an opinion writer in Texas was far cheaper and more exciting than earning a law degree elsewhere.

Sharon D. Cole