87th LegislatureEducationLocal News‘Anti-Bias’ Trainings for Fort Worth ISD Pre-K Teachers Focus on Race, Gender Identity

FWISD has also received criticism for holding "culturally responsive" teacher trainings and has been accused of teaching critical race theory.
October 7, 2022
At Fort Worth ISD (FWISD), a school district of almost 75,000 students, teachers take training sessions that may endorse concepts related to critical race theory (CRT). 

A screenshot obtained from an anonymous FWISD teacher shows that pre-K teachers are required to participate in almost nine hours of “anti-bias” training in order to satisfy continuing education requirements. 

All classroom teachers in Texas must complete 150 hours of continuing education training every five years.

The description for the anti-bias training reads, “This course offers information on culture and language, racial identity, family structures, gender identity, economic class, different abilities, holidays, and more.”

Another screenshot shows a training titled “Practical Advice for Teachers of Heritage Learners.” A definition for Heritage Learner reads, “a HLL is a student who is raised in a home where a non-English language is spoken, speaks or at least understands the language, and is to some degree bilingual in that language and in English.”

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The last training obtained by the teacher is titled “DEI: A Pathway to Belonging Part IV.” This is the final course in a four-part series “designed to provide educators with a working definition of belonging in the classroom and campus community.”

In the course, teachers will “reflect on the knowledge they have garnered in the requisite diversity, equity, and inclusion coursework and present strategies to make their learning equitable.” 

Defenders of CRT claim that it focuses on examining biases in social institutions that discriminate against people of color, but critics claim it divides people by race and assigns collective guilt for individual wrongdoing.

Because those social institutions are inherently discriminatory, proponents of CRT argue,  “equitable” solutions are required to amend these deeply entrenched issues by giving minorities and marginalized groups head starts to bring everyone to an equal playing field.

Critics claim that these “equitable” policies are unfair. 

During last year’s second special session, Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill (SB) 3 into law. The legislation’s goal is to eliminate the influence of CRT from Texas public schools. 

According to Carlos Turcios, the former FWISD student who originally obtained the screenshots from the anonymous teacher, “[T]hey have to finish [the trainings] or their pay is docked.”

Turcios also said that the influence of CRT on the district is more widespread, telling the Texan, “[T]he equity department has a handbook. It has introductions to CRT, anti-racism in the classroom, and how to basically embed anti-racism and equity in the school district.”

FWISD has a department called the “Division of Equity and Excellence” with the stated goal to ”ensure equity in all practices and at all organizational levels in FWISD by educating others on the impact of institutionalized racism and equity, specifically racial equity, on student achievement.” 

Supporters of CRT claim that the idea of institutional racism is a core tenet of the theory and is pervasive throughout society. 

Additionally, FWISD school board policy states, “The District recognizes that major historical and societal factors in our nation impact the inequity that exists within public schools.  Purposeful action can be taken to identify, acknowledge, and overcome racial and ethnic disparities between students.”

Turcios asserted that he believes the teacher trainings are the main vehicle to embed CRT in FWISD, telling The Texan, “[T]hey do not have [CRT] in the curriculum, we have not found anything. However, the problem is that because it is not written in the curriculum and because the trainings exist, it will trickle down in many different ways.”

A FWISD dual credit course came under fire earlier this year for having Ibram X. Kendi’s controversial book “How to be an Antiracist” on the syllabus. 

The district also garnered attention for its “culturally responsive” teacher training developed by Dr. Jose Medina with the intent to “disrupt the system.” Medina also asserted that “U.S. schools were conceptualized to promote white, middle income viewpoints” and that educators must ask themselves how they have “been maintaining and supporting oppression in education.”

FWISD also recently hired a new superintendent whose doctoral dissertation touched on issues like systematic racism and claimed that Latina principals are “disenfranchised.” 

The Texan reached out to a FWISD spokesperson regarding the trainings but did not receive a comment by the time of publication. 


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Hudson Callender

Hudson Callender is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of San Antonio, Texas. Hudson recently graduated cum laude from Trinity University with majors in Economics and Political Science, and loves to study ancient history. Hudson is also an avid mountaineer, backpacker, and paddler, often leading trips to remote wilderness areas. Outside of his love for nature, history, and Lone Star beer, Hudson spends his weekends arguing with his friends about football, and will always stick up for the Baylor Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and San Antonio Spurs.