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Educational Shifts: School Board Races and Bond Failures in Texas

Education

Texas parents speaking out at school board meeting. | Image from Star Telegram

The past wave of local elections in Texas has been marked by an increased focus on racialized course material and transparency issues.     

According to Isaiah Mitchell of The Texan, “parents around Texas voted down proposals that whiffed of diversity and equity measures and supported candidates who billed themselves as opponents of critical race theory.”  

Elections in Carroll Independent School District (CISD) heavily featured controversial debates about diversity curricula in schools.   

Starting in the summer of 2020, CISD has pushed its “Cultural Competence Action Plan,” a diversity plan with a roughly $1.4 million cost that features training for students and staff on racial and LGBT matters. A court order halted this plan after a judge found that the plaintiff possessed probable relief under the Open Meetings Act.     

Andrew Yeager, a candidate for CISD Place 7, ran on a platform opposing the plan. He resoundingly won his election against Stephanie Williams by a vote of 64% to 36%. Yeager picked up 6,150 votes, a remarkable number of votes compared to 2018 — when no seat on the ballot could pick up over 1,500 votes total. Carroll ISD trustees serve terms of three years.   

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, one of Texas’ largest school districts, experienced a similar trend in recent elections. Parents previously alleged that critical race theory and other race-conscious materials were being used to train staff and students alike.

One video stated, “anyone, to be blunt, that is not a white male” may be afflicted by the harmful effects of unconscious bias. This statement caused significant controversy among parents in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD.    

In addition, the board passed a “Resolution Condemning Racism” back in September 2020 that urged for an “equity audit” and vowed to single out “systemic racism.” The district signed a contract with Millennium Learning Concepts for an “equity analysis” that roughly totaled $75,000.    

A strong reaction to Cypress-Fairbanks ISD’s racially-infused education policies manifested itself in the victories of three conservative candidates.     

School bond proposals were another heated local issue that saw local pushback. For example, Fort Worth and Athens voters approved major city or county renovations while voting down school district bond measures linked to “racial equity” measures.    

In Comal County, citizens voted in favor of bonds to pay for new technology and teacher pay. However, voters demonstrated a sophisticated degree of compartmentalization by rejecting two other bonds that allocated more funds towards athletic facility renovation.    

The increasing politicization of teaching has started to make some parents hesitant about voting for various bond projects.    

Texas’ second-largest school bond proposal was cut-short on November 2 in Leander. Several voters mentioned critical race theory as the factor that motivated their vote against the bond proposal.    

Political advertising specialist and elections pundit Vinny Minchillo believes that controversies surrounding racially conscious curricula led to the collapse of school bond proposals at the polls in Fort Worth.    

Administrators in Judson ISD positioned their bond proposal as an issue of “equity”, which provoked a firm response from voters who ended up rejecting it.    

Local bond proposals failing on ballots across the state could perhaps be a premonition of a robust Republican performance in the 2022 midterm elections, which Dallas Express has previously covered.   

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