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3 North Texas superintendents discuss critical race theory, controversial books and a mayoral run during roundtable

Three leaders in education in North Texas sat down for a roundtable with the Texas Tribune.

DALLAS — Three leaders in education in North Texas sat down for a roundtable with the Texas Tribune Thursday. All three have either left or are leaving their position. 

Fort Worth’s Kent Scribner is retiring in two years, Richardson’s Jeannie Stone left in December, and Michael Hinojosa is leaving Dallas ISD too. 

The roundtable started with what it has been like leading through a pandemic.

“It’s been one issue after another and none of these things were in our strategic plan,” Hinojosa said. “Dallas ISD found a way to persevere despite these huge challenges.”

“The last three years have been the most challenging leadership scenario that any of us have dealt with,” Scribner said.

“When you talk to teachers, they’ll tell you people who are not in schools do not understand what it’s like,” Stone said. “If you’re in school, you can’t explain what it’s been like. If you’re not in school, you really can’t understand.”

RELATED: Superintendent openings: Which ones are open or filled in North Texas?

Much of the discussion centered around the divisive time in education, with parents and community leaders often at odds about the right decision for students and staff.

They were all asked about critical race theory, and all three agreed that it is not taught in their district.

“This is a manufactured crisis, this is not real. This is a national playbook by some real smart, organized people who pay people to go out and create havoc,” Hinojosa said. 

“I don’t think you need to inject truth serum into the legislators. I think you need to just need to have a conversational with them individually behind closed doors, and they understand this is a manufactured crisis,” Scribner said. 

The moderator briefly discussed the controversy regarding the removal of some books in school libraries – many that involve race or sexual orientation.

RELATED: North Texas superintendent orders books removed from schools, targeting titles about transgender people

“Most Americans believe that censorship is not appropriate,” Hinojosa said.

Stone said she spent a day in the library going through potentially controversial titles.

“They were books that were inclusive of students that are in our schools,” Stone said.

Stone has not announced what is next for her. Scribner is retiring. The moderator asked Hinojosa about reporting that he may run for Mayor of Dallas.

“The reporting that you are thinking about it is true?, ” Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith said.

“I am thinking about it,” Hinojosa said.

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