'Fixer Upper' stars donate to campaign for Gaines' sister, who is anti-critical race theory

·2 min read

"Fixer Upper" stars Chip and Joanna Gaines donated $1,000 to a Texas school board candidate who came out against critical race theory education — despite the school district denying that it exists in its curriculum.

Shannon Braun, whom a Gaines spokesperson identified as Chip Gaines' sister to The Dallas Morning News, is running for the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District board in Colleyville, a city about 15 miles northeast of Fort Worth. The Gaineses donated $1,000 to Braun's campaign, while Braun's and Chip Gaines' parents donated $2,000, The Dallas Morning News reported.

In a Facebook post, Braun said Wednesday she was an advocate of "returning the focus of our curriculum and teaching to academics, rather than filling curriculum with divisive Critical Race Theory."

However, a GCISD spokesperson told NBC News in an email that "the curriculum used in GCISD does not include instruction on Critical Race Theory."

"As we encourage our students to take ownership of their learning, they often have choice in how they approach an assignment or the topic they research and study," the spokesperson said in a statement. "This does not mean, however, that Critical Race Theory is part of GCISD’s curriculum."

Critical race theory is a concept that seeks to understand racism and inequality in the U.S. by exploring and exposing how it manifests in everyday life.

In the past year, an increasing number of conservative leaders have seized the decades-old academic term as a catchall for anti-racism and diversity efforts, prompting several states across the country to introduce a slew of bills prohibiting critical race theory in K-12 schools.

In Texas, conservative state lawmakers are considering two bills that would bar critical race theory in the classroom, which would affect how teachers talk about race and racism in school, the Texas Tribune reported. The bills would also prohibit students from receiving credit for participating in organizations that promote civic engagement.

Braun also included the Gaineses as a campaign endorsement on her website, but did not publicly disclose her relationship to the celebrity couple, the newspaper reported.

As of Thursday, the endorsement section has since been taken down from her website.

Braun and the Gaines couple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Braun and incumbent Mindy McClure will compete in a runoff election for a board position on June 5. In the May 1 election, Braun received 47.9 percent of the vote while McClure was at 39.3 percent.

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