EducationLocal NewsFort Worth ISD Provides ‘Culturally Responsive Teaching’ Training to ESL Teachers

Fort Worth ISD hosted a training seminar for its ESL teachers including ideas such as “disrupting the system” and “amplifying marginalized groups.”
July 28, 2022
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The Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) hosted a professional development seminar promoting “lesson planning as a political act” and aiming to “chip away at the systems of oppression in education” this summer for its Bilingual/English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers.

The seminar entitled “C6 Biliteracy Instructional Framework: Lesson Planning Via a Critical Consciousness Lens,” developed by Dr. Jose Medina Educational Solutions, adopts many of the ideological ideas about which parents have voiced concerns in FWISD and around the country in recent months.

In a podcast in 2020, Medina explained the framework for the training. When asked to elucidate his viewpoint that “lesson planning is a political act,” Medina said it must be acknowledged that “U.S. schools were conceptualized to promote white, middle income viewpoints.” He continued by saying that educators must ask themselves how they have “been maintaining and supporting oppression in education.”

“It is about disruption in the system,” he asserted.

Medina’s biography acknowledges he has been influenced by Paulo Freire, a prominent Brazilian educational theorist.

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Freire’s ideas have strongly influenced teaching methods in American public schools. His neo-Marxist framework can be found in his books such as “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” according to an affidavit sent to The Texan by James Lindsay, a PhD who has studied Freire’s work.

Like with Medina’s C6 training seminar, Lindsay points out, “For Freire, however, the point of all such instruction is unambiguously political generally and to generate a Marxist consciousness specifically. Entire chapters in the book are dedicated explicitly to these themes since they are, for Freire, the point of education.”

“Culturally responsive teaching,” according to the seminar information obtained by The Texan, “must start with addressing implicit bias.” It also calls on ESL teachers to create a plan for a cultural learning target that “amplifies voices of marginalized communities.”

“Culturally Relevant Teaching, [is] a more-or-less direct repackaging of Freirean education into a more contemporary identity-political domain,” Lindsay pointed out in the affidavit.

Medina, who identifies as a “queer, Chicano, Spanglish-speaking educational leader,” provided books of his “testimonio” to seminar participants which included a conversation between siblings about one being gay and a depiction of himself as a boy being excited about wearing a pink dress.

According to the FWISD website, the goals of their ESL program vary slightly by grade level, but all involve the students reaching full proficiency in English and passing the state-required tests.

Dr. Carol M. Swain, Distinguished Senior Fellow for Constitutional Studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said the training was “clearly designed to politicize the students.”

“Most people want their kids to be taught basic education like reading, writing, and math, and not to be used for political agendas,” she continued.

“It is very subtle and casual observers would have a hard time seeing the warning signs,” Swain, who has studied and written about these concepts, noted. “I believe it is up to the knowledgeable people to protect the children who can’t protect themselves nor are aware of the larger political agenda.”

Carlos Turcios, a FWISD graduate who has been fighting CRT in the district, said the training “will provide no true productive value. Students need teachers focusing on academic performance and actually making sure they are learning English properly.”

Swain offered similar criticism, emphasizing, “Teaching the teachers who will indoctrinate students in anti-Americanism will foster division.”

She said the ESL students will have a harder time assimilating and being successful if they are taught these Marxist concepts.

Jason Peña, a FWISD parent of Mexican descent with two children in the district, reacted strongly when he learned about the training.

“It makes me angry because it is teaching minority kids to hate white kids and to be a victim,” he said.

Parents of ESL students often do not speak English well, if at all. FWISD did not respond to The Texan’s inquiry about whether it would be informing parents about the “C6” model of instruction and its framework to “disrupt the system.”

The district’s communication department would also not provide details about the seminar’s specific date, attendance, cost, and feedback, but requested that The Texan submit an open records request (ORR), allowing it at least 10 business days to respond. The department had not responded to the ORR before the time of publication.

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.