Clear Creek ISD modifies policy to address concerns surrounding critical race theory

The CCISD policy amendment uses language specifying that district educational resources “shall not promote or endorse race or sex stereotyping or race or sex scapegoating.” (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
The CCISD policy amendment uses language specifying that district educational resources “shall not promote or endorse race or sex stereotyping or race or sex scapegoating.” (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The CCISD policy amendment uses language specifying that district educational resources “shall not promote or endorse race or sex stereotyping or race or sex scapegoating.” (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Clear Creek ISD’s instructional resources now include policy language effectively prohibiting the use of critical race theory in classrooms, after concerns about the theory were raised related to its use at Superintendent Eric Williams’ former school district.

A modification to local policy was first introduced Dec. 14, during former Superintendent Greg Smith’s last board of trustees meeting, and was approved on its second of two readings at the Jan. 25 meeting, a week after Williams had taken over. Board members did not discuss the policy amendment at either meeting.

The policy amendment does not change the way anything is being taught in the district, Board President Laura DuPont said in a Feb. 1 email. It was introduced not to address any board concerns regarding Dr. Williams but rather to put to rest any remaining public concern about the use of controversial educational resources, such as critical race theory, she wrote.

“The modification [to the instructional resource] serves to clarify and document the district stance that CRT or other divisive material will not be part of the curriculum for students or for staff,” she said via email.

Critical race theory involves the view that law and legal institutions are inherently racist and that race itself is a socially constructed concept used by white people to promote white supremacy at the expense of people of color.


The CCISD policy amendment uses language specifying that district educational resources “shall not promote or endorse race or sex stereotyping or race or sex scapegoating.” Race or sex stereotyping is defined in the document as ascribing character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status or beliefs to a race or sex, or assigning them to an individual because of his or her race or sex. Race or sex scapegoating is defined as assigning fault, blame or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their identity.

Focus on critical thinking, continuing excellence

The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills—part of the Texas Education Agency’s state standards for what students should know and be able to do—does not address critical race theory, and the state does not provide districts with materials that cover critical race theory, DuPont wrote. District curricula are designed to help students build critical thinking skills rather than to define specific ways or things those students should think, she added.

CCISD has a well-defined process for developing curricula that are clearly aligned with the TEKS, DuPont said. Prior to its amendment, the policy already contained language regarding how a parent of a district student, any employee or any district resident can formally challenge a district instructional resource “on the basis of appropriateness.” The full policy text can be read under item 11.A.16 of the board’s Jan. 25 meeting agenda.

Williams came to CCISD from Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia, where educational resources related to the theory are considered acceptable, and was the sitting superintendent as the district reckoned with its own issues related to racial biases.

LCPS came under fire in February 2019 over a physical education activity involving the portrayal of runaway enslaved people, according to Loudoun Times-Mirror coverage. Following the incident, the district created a 16-step framework to address systemic racism and the overall culture that led to the incident; efforts to create the framework started in spring 2019, per LCPS board documents.

The LCPS board documents do not explicitly mention critical race theory. DuPont said in November critical race theory was not in LCPS curriculum “the way that some people have said it is.”

Williams said in a December interview that he does not intend to chart a new course in terms of the CCISD educational experience but rather that he wants to build on the district’s existing excellence. Board members reaffirmed their faith in Williams in late 2020 as CCISD and LCPS parents alike took to social media to express concerns about his effectiveness as an educational leader.

“Ultimately, [Williams’] job is to execute a vision, and our job is to develop it as board members,” trustee Scott Bowen said during a Dec. 1 board meeting. “Policy and politics are our job, and execution is his job.”

Two months later, DuPont reasserted that the decision to bring Williams to CCISD was based on his ability to help execute the district’s mission.

“The board did not hire Dr. Williams to bring specific programs, curriculum or agendas to CCISD but rather to provide the leadership to help the district build on its strengths and tradition of helping students achieve, contribute and lead with integrity,” she wrote.

By Colleen Ferguson
A native central New Yorker, Colleen Ferguson worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. Colleen graduated from Syracuse University in 2019, where she worked for the campus's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange, with a degree in Newspaper and Online Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a degree in Spanish language and culture. Colleen previously interned with The Journal News/lohud, where she covered the commute in the greater New York City area.

<

MOST RECENT

Houston City Council approved ordinances expanding and funding Houston’s BCycle program on April 14. (Courtesy Houston BCycle)
Houston City Council OKs expansion of BCycle sites

City Council approved the addition of 11 new BCycle kiosk bike stations.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Homes priced above $750,000, such as this one in the Heights, saw a surge in sales in March, with almost twice as many properties sold. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Average Houston single-family home price jumps 20% in March

The average sale price for a home in March was $370,847.

While face masks will remain a requirement for the rest of the 2020-21 school year, a Clear Creek ISD committee has recommended masks be optional for the 2021-22 school year. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Clear Creek ISD committee recommends making face masks optional next school year

While face masks will remain a requirement for the rest of the 2020-21 school year, a Clear Creek ISD committee has recommended masks be optional for the 2021-22 school year.

League City will give up nearly 30 acres of land to Friendswood in exchange for some of the property tax revenue generated by the move after League City City Council’s unanimous vote April 13. (Courtesy city of League City)
League City agrees to land swap with Friendswood

League City will give up nearly 30 acres of land to Friendswood in exchange for some of the property tax revenue generated by the move after League City City Council’s unanimous vote April 13.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

Spearheaded by state Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, the new court, if established, would expand the capacity of the county's criminal court system in hopes of reducing its backlog, which stood at 70,951 total cases pending before criminal district courts in Harris County as of April 8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County supports creation of new criminal district court to tackle case backlog

If the efforts are successful, this would be Harris County's first new criminal district court since 1984 when the 351st District Court was created.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

(Courtesy Montaya Magee)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: H-E-B coming to Clear Lake and more

Here is a roundup of recent business news in Clear Lake and League City.

"Breaking Strongholds" is a faith-based, eight-episode series that explores topics such as suicide and depression. (Courtesy Terry Weaver)
Series shot in Montgomery County aiming for Hulu, Netflix deal and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

With little discussion April 5, Friendswood City Council voted in favor of a resolution to show support for House Bill 3029, the passage of which would result in the creation of a taxing entity to help fund the operation of the proposed coastal barrier. (Community Impact staff)
Friendswood joins League City in supporting creation of Gulf Coast Protection District

With little discussion April 5, Friendswood City Council voted in favor of a resolution to show support for House Bill 3029, the passage of which would result in the creation of a taxing entity to help fund the operation of the proposed coastal barrier.