Parents had said the book included critical race theory, but an expert we spoke with said that’s not the case.
KATY, Texas — We have an update to a story we’ve been following this week out of Katy ISD. A book that the district had been reviewing is now back on school library shelves and its author’s virtual visit rescheduled.
The book – ‘New Kid’ by award-winning author Jerry Kraft – had been the subject of complaints by parents in the district, who said it promoted critical race theory. While the district looked into it, the book was removed and a speaking engagement by the author was postponed.
The book is Craft’s narrative of an African-American student switching schools.
Katy ISD tells us the review is over and the book is back in school libraries.
This is the statement the district sent to us: “Earlier this week, the review committee met and determined the appropriateness of the book, “New Kid.” The reading material is already back on District library shelves and the virtual author visit is scheduled to take place on October 25 as part of the instructional day.”
As for the parents’ concern, we spoke with Dr. Vida Robertson with the University of Houston Downtown’s Center for Critical Race Theory. He says there’s a difference between critical race theory and what’s in Craft’s book.
“Critical race theory is interested in structures of society, it’s interested in the way that we are organized as a nation, interested in the way that that systems and institutions engage in oppression. It would not necessarily be characterized by an individual’s life story,” Robertson said.
When we originally reported this story, Craft’s publicist pointed KHOU 11 to a statement from the author who said, in part, “what has not changed are my goals for my books: helping kids become the kind of readers that I never was; letting kids see themselves on my pages…”