Has Critical Race Theory seeped into GCISD unnoticed over the last few years?
This page seeks to compile information about Critical Race Theory (CRT) specifically so that parents have a complete picture of what's happening district-wide.
"Over the last few years, CRT has made its way into public school systems across the country, using terms like “anti-racism,” “equity,” “diversity,” and “inclusion.”"
"Equity and equality are not considered the same. Equality would mean that everyone is treated the same; equity means those less fortunate would get more. "
"Gone are the days of Martin Luther King Jr.’s notion of judging people solely by the content of their character. "
"Critical race theory is an ideology which maintains that the United States is a fundamentally racist country and that American institutions such as the Constitution, property rights, color blindness, and equal protection under the law are vestiges of white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalist oppression—all of which must be overthrown in the name of 'antiracism.' Ultimately, critical race theory and 'antiracism' policies would deepen racial divisions and undermine the very institutions that are essential to addressing poverty and inequality across all racial groups."
"Critical race theory combines Marxist theories of oppressor versus oppressed with the lens of race. It ultimately defines all history and human interactions as a perpetual racial conflict."
The GCISD Learning Institute is an annual, unique opportunity for professional learning in GCISD.
A session titled "Breaking the Barrier: Talking About Our Differences" was presented by the current CHHS Principal in
2019 to a group of 29 attendees comprising of administrators, staff, and teachers. The presentation can be found below.
The training makes the use of an identity wheel to segregate people by race, religion, age, sex, etc. Then the training goes on to discuss privileges, such as white privilege or Christian privilege. It continues with a discussion of Racism and Microaggressions that occur because society is assumed to be systematically racist. What does any of this have to do with core curriculum of reading, writing and arithmetic?
Critical Race Theory is being expanded about the country, of course, with the 1619 Project. Is that anywhere in our curriculum?
Thank you for your question, Mike. Now let me be clear: it is not in GCISD curriculum ... 1619, CRT, none of that is in our curriculum.
We teach the state Essential Knowledge and Skills. Uh. We teach Advanced Placement curriculum. Nowhere is it in there.
Now, uh, you mentioned it has been bantered about all across the country. So if you're talking about it, our teachers are probably talking about it, but it is not in our curriculum ... everybody is talking about about that kind of thing.
Uh, so I can tell you, it is not in our curriculum, is not gonna be in our curriculum. Uh, and, uh, our community is not for that. Our Principals, our teachers are not for that. And so I just want, I want to be really clear.
DR. RYAN'S STATEMENTS CONFLICT WITH THE GCISD TEACHER TRAINING ENTITLED "BREAKING THE BARRIER" PROVIDED ABOVE. THAT TRAINING DIRECTLY INSTRUCTS THE GCISD EMPLOYESS WHO TOOK IT IN THE CORE ELEMENTS OF CRITICAL RACE THEORY.
TEACHERS SPECIFICALLY ARE EXPECTED TO APPLY THEIR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE CLASSROOM, WHICH INCLUDES THE ABOVE CRITICAL RACE THEORY-BASED TRAINING.
Dearest Panther Family,
I trust this message finds you safe and well. As I type these words, it’s 4:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep. For the past several days, this has been the case.
This spring you battled an invisible enemy and effectively took your classrooms virtual overnight. We all know it was not perfect, but the work you did to ensure our students got what they needed was nothing short of a miracle.
Now, as you begin your summer, an all too familiar enemy - one that has always been in our midst - has landed another devastating blow to our nation’s spirit.
The recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have shook us to our core, adding to the ever-growing list of black Americans who have lost their lives because of the color of their skin. Systemic racism is alive and well, doing precisely what it was set up to do.
The same questions crop up:
What can I do to affect change?
Why is this still happening?
Why do some people’s lives seem to not have the same value as others?
Very deep questions that require serious reflection and discussion. Much like those facing various forms of addiction we must first come to terms with the fact that we have a problem. For so long these atrocities have occurred and we’ve simply moved on with our daily lives. Most of my life I’ve heard the same old lines:
“Don’t play the race card!”
“Don’t make everything about race!”
“I don’t see color”
“You’re not like the others!”
“You speak so well.”
“Slavery is in the past. Can’t we just move on?”
Now, it appears as though we are collectively using our voice to denounce systemic racism and the inequities that people of color face on a daily basis in our country.
I will be 42 years old next month and, never in my life, have I experienced this level of support when it comes to issues of race. I cannot begin to tell you how encouraging it has been to have so many of my white brothers and sisters buck the status quo by calling, texting, unashamedly saying that black lives do, indeed, matter, peacefully marching with me, and making a commitment to learn and take meaningful action.
I encourage us all not to grow weary in the battle against systemic racism - commit to being an anti-racist. While there are great obstacles to face, please know that I am with you on this journey towards conciliation for our nation. I would love to say reconciliation, but that would imply that we’ve been somewhere we have not been along our country's journey as it relates to racial equality. We will learn together, laugh together, cry together, and make progress together. Our work as educators is truly the most important work. Our schools set the foundation for our future. Education is the key to stomping out ignorance, hate, and systemic racism. It’s a necessary conduit to get to “liberty and justice for all.” It’s a great responsibility, but one that I am so happy to embrace with you.
Let’s not allow this moment to be a flash-in-the-pan. Let’s commit to the work and the hard, vulnerable, and uncomfortable conversations that we must have to ensure we grow personally and professionally. Our youth are always watching us but now, more than ever, our young people of color, specifically, are watching to see how we will respond. Will we retreat back into comfort or will we advance with great vigor into the often turbulent waters that come with tearing down systems of oppression? I’m geared up and ready for demolition for our kids and our nation. Please join me and let’s do this!
I love you all dearly and very much look forward to the journey ahead!
The District has received numerous questions regarding the decision to place Dr. James Whitfield on paid administrative leave. While the status of this as an ongoing personnel matter limits the information that the District can disclose about the events leading up to this decision, the speculation and conjecture that surround these events warrant some additional context.
The decision to place Dr. Whitfield on administrative leave was not a result of statements made by members of the public, including those who spoke at recent meetings of the GCISD Board of Trustees. Nor was the decision made in response to allegations Dr. Whitfield was teaching Critical Race Theory, or because of the photos on his social media account that were brought to the attention of the District in 2019.
GCISD welcomed Dr. Whitfield as an assistant principal at Colleyville Heritage High School in 2018, then promoted him to principal at Heritage Middle School in 2019. One year later, in 2020, he was promoted again to the principal of Colleyville Heritage High School.
We understand that members of our community have questions, but the District does not resolve personnel matters in the media. We have established procedures for that which we are following. We are fully committed to coming together and focusing first and foremost on providing an excellent education for all of the students we serve.