Critical race theory is the study of how racism shapes laws, policies and society. Over the last several months, officials nationwide have raced to enact new laws and introduce new policies meant to shape how students discuss the nation’s past — and its present. Track legislation and policy proposals here. (via Chalkbeat)
Key question: How has your school responded to the recent national debate on how to teach about race and racism in the United States?
- How did your school react to the movement to prohibit the use of critical race theory? Was there a push to make changes at the state or local level? Was there a response?
- Do members of your school community understand the existing curriculum and how teachers teach about race and racism? What are the misconceptions?
- What do teachers and administrators think should be in school curriculum, and how do they think it should be taught? Aside from the curriculum, are there other ways to teach about race and racism?
- How does your school’s curriculum compare to other schools nearby or in neighboring states?
- What is critical race theory, and why do Republicans want to ban it in schools? (The Washington Post, May 29) — “Critical race theory is an academic framework centered on the idea that racism is systemic, and not just demonstrated by individual people with prejudices. The theory holds that racial inequality is woven into legal systems and negatively affects people of color in their schools, doctors’ offices, the criminal justice system and countless other parts of life.”
- WATCH: What is critical race theory? (PBS NewsHour, June 29)
- How Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project ignited the critical race theory backlash (Chalkbeat, July 19)
- The Brewing Political Battle Over Critical Race Theory (NPR, June 29) — “Many Republican lawmakers, who are fighting what they label as the teaching of critical race theory in schools, contend it divides Americans. Democrats and their allies maintain progress is unlikely without examining the root causes of disparity in the country, although they push back on the idea that critical race theory itself — a scholarly undertaking — is being taught on the K-12 level. The issue is shaping up to be a major cultural battle ahead of next year’s midterm elections.”
- An exodus of educators: Resignations hit schools amid furor over critical race theory (Yahoo! News, July 12) — “Against the backdrop of hostility to discussions of race in schools — and as five states have passed laws limiting how teachers can address “divisive concepts” with students — administrators and teachers across the country say they have been pushed out of their districts. Some have opted to leave public schools entirely, while others are fighting to save their career. The result in these districts is what educators and experts describe as a brain drain of those who are most committed to fighting racism in schools.”
- As states place new limits on class discussions of race, research suggests they benefit students (Chalkbeat, July 8) — “ A handful of recent studies have found that students are more engaged in school after taking classes that frankly discuss racism and bigotry — just as some educators like [Mackee] Mason fear such discussions could be threatened by a wave of broad state laws designed to limit the teaching of what some are calling “critical race theory.”
- Parents group launches campaign for ‘true diversity of thought’ in New England private schools (Boston Globe, July 11)
Other curricular developments
- Illinois Has Become The First State To Require The Teaching Of Asian American History (NPR, July 13)
- Connecticut will become the first state to require high schools to offer Black and Latino studies in fall 2022 (CNN, Dec. 9, 2020)
- After years of debate, California finally adopts ethnic studies model curriculum (CNN, March 22)
- Texas Senate Votes to Remove Required Lessons on Civil Rights (Bloomberg Law, July 16)
The list reflects what I have read, heard and seen in my own media diet, so it comes from my perspective. Chicago is also over-represented because that’s where I live and work. The list is not meant to be comprehensive or exclusive of other ideas. Many of the stories were covered by multiple outlets, but links here lean toward sites available without a subscription, particularly nonprofit news sites like NPR and The 19th.