Texas educators reveal how they use language trojan horses to teach Critical Race Theory
March 1, 2023
In the second installment of Accuracy in Media’s Texas investigation, educators are seen on hidden camera explaining just how they use linguistic trojan horses in order to defy Gov. Greg Abbott’s Critical Race Theory ban and continue teaching controversial topics and theories to students unbeknownst to parents.
“They had to change the wording,” Donna Hodge, advanced academic coordinator at Keller Independent School District, told AIM’s investigators when describing how schools dealt with the CRT ban.
Now, according to Hodge, “we talk about the specific things, not the big label.”
In the summer of 2021, Abbott signed House Bill 3979. The law prohibits the teaching that some individuals are “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.” And though the bill is written as specifically as possible to address CRT’s proliferation in schools, it has proven unsuccessful at keeping its principles out of the classroom.
Jodi Ferguson, Curriculum Director at Calallen ISD, told investigators that “we probably don’t say ‘1619,’” referencing the widely debunked New York Times Magazine longform piece by controversial author Nikole Hannah-Jones.
“But, are some of the concepts in there, in the way we’re teaching it, are they in there? I would say yes,” she said. “But we just can’t say ‘1619 Project.’”
“That would be a terminology we would avoid,” Ferguson said.
According to Kelly Glos, social studies curriculum coordinator at Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD, “The way the social studies TEKS [Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills] are written and you can look them up, they’re online, you know, it’s pretty ambiguous where you could make a case for just about anything.”
Glos isn’t the only one who has learned to work around the guidelines.
Evan Whitfield, director of science at Coppell ISD, similarly admitted that “we kind of dance, tap dance, around calling it anything,” to avoid getting calls from the Texas Education Agency.
“We just do the right thing at the end of the day,” Whitfield explained.
Brad Cloud, director of instructional technology at South San Antonio ISD, echoed that the standards are “open for interpretation,” adding that “I mean as long as they’re following our TEKS, you know, they’re teaching the standards, then they’re not going to get much flak from the building administrator.”
“The language explicitly says–it doesn’t say anything about, you know, diversity or inclusion, but it says creating a safe and belonging environment,” Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Plano ISD Brian Lyons said on hidden camera. “When you start looking at inclusion, equity, those are–it’s rooted in that. And so, we can infuse–we can embed that into that. So, we’re going to do it. It’s just going to be under another requirement that the district has us do.”
“But there are ways in which, you know, we can–we’ve been crafty enough to get ahead of it,” he added.
Clearly, this ban isn’t stopping CRT’s principles from entering the classroom. Activist educators are simply adapting and working to covertly teach it.
It’s evident that the current law isn’t addressing the issue. The only route left to ensure that parents can secure non-activist-driven education is school choice.
With school choice, these public schools would be forced to shape up and be transparent with families in order to compete.
Several school choice bills have already been introduced in the Texas state legislature this session.
State Sen. Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston) introduced Senate Bill 176, which would be one of the largest school choice wins in the state if passed.
Middleton’s bill would “establish the Texas Parental Empowerment Program to provide funding for approved education-related expenses of eligible children admitted into the program.”
Under the bill, families of children who have opted out of their public school would receive a payment from the state for the average cost of a Texas student’s education, which is roughly $10,000 a year, per the Texas Tribune.
According to Middleton, “What my bill would do is it would empower every single parent in the state of Texas to choose which education works best for their children’s unique educational needs.”
These investigations have made it clearer than ever that the only solution is school choice. Click here to join us in our fight. With one click, you can tell your elected officials to promote school choice in your state.