The Austin Institute’s Kevin E. Stuart isn’t surprised at the backlash private Christian school Wesley Prep in Dallas is receiving from parents protesting the appointment of Meg Fahrenbrook as head of the school.
“It’s reflective of a larger trend of parents taking renewed or heightened interest in what’s being taught in classrooms and schools,” Stuart told The Dallas Express.
The Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture is a research enterprise in conjunction with the University of Texas at Austin focused on social sciences impacting the family and culture.
“It’s going on across the country in public and private schools alike,” Stuart said in an interview. “Parents are asking more questions than ever about what exactly their children are being taught. I think that’s a great development, but sometimes they’ll like the answers and sometimes they won’t. When they don’t, it’s a perfect opportunity to press for reform.”
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Save Texas Kids staged a rally near the Wesley Prep school, alleging that Fahrenbrook is a far-left activist who supports critical race theory (CRT) curriculum, gender fluidity ideology, and controversial figures such as Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, who authored the highly controversial book “How to be an Anti-Racist.”
“The Supreme Court has reaffirmed that it’s a fundamental right of parents to educate their children,” Stuart added. “They are the primary educators of their children. If the leadership of the school is this far off the truth, what else are they far off the truth on? This probably isn’t the only thing that is a problem.”
At issue is a post on Twitter in which Fahrenbrok endorsed the California-based ‘anti-racist’ organization Leadership + Design, which tweeted support for Kendi’s “anti-slavery comment” on July 4, 2020.
Thank you for hosting! It was energizing, thought-provoking, and so good to see all those awesome humans!!! https://t.co/nFWNjzk545
— Meg Fahrenbrook (@MegFahrenbrook) October 29, 2021
“Perhaps the greatest anti-slavery speech ever uttered is ‘What to the Slave is the Fourth of July’ by Frederick Douglass in 1852. I wanted to make the speech more accessible. Here’s a thread with an abridged version of the speech we should reread every #FourthofJuly,” Kendi wrote on Twitter.
Leadership + Design tweeted in response, “There is not just one narrative of this day and to think so would be foolish and dangerous (Adiche). Exploratory over confirmatory thinking. More curious than certain.”
There is not just one narrative of this day and to think so would be foolish and dangerous (Adiche). Exploratory over confirmatory thinking. More curious than certain. https://t.co/B5m2mhbESM
— Leadership+Design (@leadanddesign) July 4, 2020
Kendi, founder and director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, argues that the public has been misinformed about his work.
“It is said [that] I’m the father of critical race theory, when CRT was born in 1981 and I was born in 1982,” Kendi told The Dallas Express. “What’s worse is the mainstreaming of an old White supremacist talking point: that antiracism is anti-White and racist.”
In the New York Times, Kendi recommends reading a list of books as a way to dismantle racism’s “insidious hold on all of us.”
The list of books includes:
- Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition
- Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland
- West Indian Immigrants: A Black Success Story
- Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America
- Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century
“What I desire as a scholar, educator, and parent is for all of America’s children to learn our complex history: the enduring history of racism and the glorious fight of an interracial body of antiracist Americans to challenge racism and create equity and justice for all,” Kendi said in an interview. “I want White children to learn about White abolitionists and White civil rights activists. I want Black children to learn about indigenous cultures. I want Latinx children to learn about the xenophobia Asian immigrants faced in the late 19th century. I want all our children to learn the truth and nothing but the complex truth.”
The Dallas Express recently conducted a poll and wrote an article outlining that people of Hispanic descent may not like being called “Latinx.”
Fahrenbrook has further ruffled feathers with the inclusion of her ‘pronouns’ (‘she/her/hers’) on her Twitter profile, an often-controversial decision wherein people specify which pronouns they prefer for people to use when speaking about them so as to account for their chosen gender identity.
“School is incredibly formative for children,” Stuart said. “It is a profound responsibility that we entrust schools with when we entrust them with the formation of our children. Our children spend half their waking hours at a school. My own children’s school publishes the entirety of the curriculum on the website of the school, which provides complete transparency for parents. It’s a Catholic classical school and if parents want to know what’s going on in the classroom, they are incredibly welcomed and encouraged to know what’s going on in the classroom.”
In addition to being president of the Austin Institute, Stuart is also headmaster at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Taylor, Texas, where his children are students.
“I don’t know a lot about Meg Fahrenbrook but I know that everyone who St. Mary’s hires has to take an oath of fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church and some of what has been claimed is not consistent with teachings of the Catholic Church,” he said.
Wesley Prep school officials did not respond to requests for comment. When Save Texas Kids demanded answers as to why Fahrenbrook was selected out of all the candidates the selection committee considered, they received no response.
“Save Texas Kids stands with the dozens of parents who have brought the radical and egregious social media posts of Mrs. Fahrenbrook to light,” said the group’s director, Carlos Turcios in a January 4 statement.
However, Niecee X, an African American educator in Dallas who “identifies as non-binary” and advocates for transgender youth, said Save Texas Kids will soon run out of steam.
“What I’ve realized is that the angry mob doesn’t last very long,” Niecee X told The Dallas Express. “Obviously, Wesley Prep has decided to move in a different direction than perhaps some of their constituents would like, but the decision has been made. It seems like they’re standing by it. I don’t know how important it is to Wesley Prep that some people are upset about the fact that Meg Fahrenbrook is interested in more equity in the schools, as much as it is just a nuisance.”