Eric Williams, superintendent of Clear Creek Independent School District, is being scrutinized by a group of ISD parents who believe he has put in place lessons that indoctrinate students with an “anti-white” sentiment.
According to The Houston Chronicle, this accusation has followed Williams from his last job in Virginia – which has become a national flashpoint of right-wing activism over “critical race theory.”
Even though Williams has emphasized the CCISD’s focus is not CRT, a group of parents plans to call for his resignation during public comment at Clear Creek ISD’s board of trustees meeting tonight.
“CRT is not in our curriculum and it’s not in our instructional resources. In fact, our board adopted a policy prohibiting district resources from doing any sort of scapegoating or stereotyping based on race,” said Williams last week.
The parents calling for Williams to step down take issue with programs that teach character and focus on social and emotional learning. Yet the district’s “Leader in Me” program, which has social and emotional learning goals, was introduced to the school system in 2016, way before Williams joined Clear Creek.
“It helps students to collaborate in groups, tackling complex issues and coming up with solutions,” said Jay Cunningham, Clear Creek ISD Board President. “We’ve been doing that since long before Dr. Williams got here and we plan to continue it.”
The board president believes that the issue is coming up five years later only because the national conversation at the moment is targeting certain buzz words.
Critical race theory was first coined 40 years ago as an academic concept taught in law schools that racism is systematically entrenched in society and its institutions; in recent years it has become a political talking point on the right, as reported by The Houston Chronicle.
Especially in Texas public schools since Gov. Greg Abbott signed in June a bill banning critical race theory. The bill has already had an impact in Texas.
In Tarrant County, a Black principal in Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District was forced to resign last month after being accused of “indoctrinating” students and in the Houston region, several school board candidates won their races in November by condemning CRT.
William plans on setting roots in the community and plans to stay in the district for the “long haul.” He is aware of the unsettled parents and their critics, saying he respects them and genuinely listens to all their concerns.
“A natural reaction may be to be defensive, depending on tone or word choice. We really need to listen to parents and community members because those partnerships are incredibly important,” he said.
“I’m not surprised that people want the best for their kids. That unites us.”