Should critical race theory be taught in K-12 schools?


Fact Box

  • Critical Race Theory (CRT), started in higher academia and is the belief that institutions are “inherently racist” and that racial inequality stems from White superiority. It was developed by scholars in the 1970s as a response to perceived “slow progress following the Civil Rights Movement” in the 60s.
  • Idaho, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, New Hampshire, Arizona, and South Carolina have passed legislation disallowing CRT or its ideas from being taught in public schools. Several more states are drafting similar legislation.
  • A September 2021 USA TODAY/Ipsos poll reports over 60% of Americans want their children to learn about the “ongoing effects of slavery and racism,” but only half support teaching Critical Race Theory in the classroom. 
  • A July 2020 Wall Street Journal poll reports 56% of respondents believe 'American society is racist.'

Joanna (Yes)

Although Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a theory taught at the college level, it can and should be implemented into the curriculum for K-12 students. CRT stems from Critical Legal Theory, which stems further back to Critical Theory. Critical Legal Theory theorizes that 'the law is intertwined with social issues.' CRT supports this, saying that racism is systemic in our legal practices and social constructs and that law implicitly includes racial biases. 

As American trust in government has been overall declining over generations, most US citizens would agree that the law is not a just system simply because it's law, precisely as these theories suggest. Critical Race Theory, however, encourages critical thinking on these matters. Teaching these college-level ideas in ways children understand won't be difficult, though, considering recent research that 'some infants are aware of race and preschoolers may have already developed racist beliefs.' 

Racism is undeniably alive today. Refusing to address it in American schools only perpetuates misinformation for future generations. 

Ignoring systemic racism allows it to flourish, while teaching CRT encourages students to look at it through a critical lens so it might one day be dismantled. Already children are exposed to racism on the internet. Providing a curriculum in schools that accurately addresses racism protects students from believing dangerous misinformation on social media and blogs.

Parents are free to teach their kids whatever they like at home if they disagree with school curriculum. However, it remains the school’s responsibility to accurately inform children of the world we live in, including teachers. Luckily, schools provide a structure wherein children can openly discuss issues like racism and theories like CRT. Implementing forthright education in schools about race will inspire upcoming generations to continue striving for an antiracist society.

Curtice (No)

Amidst the rise of Black Lives Matter and other “diversity, equity, and inclusion” efforts infiltrating schools, the presence of Critical Race Theory (CRT) has become concerning to parents. A subset of education now revolves around the teaching of CRT. Parents want and are entitled to expect a good education for their kids, with a focus on traditional skills, not divisive, political concepts in which it is not a school’s place nor expertise to teach

K-12 should be focused on math, science, reading, etc., which kids require to know to be successful in life. Instead, they are increasingly getting a social justice slant in education via CRT indoctrination, which teaches all subjects through the prism of racial oppression. During this societal debate, media pundits continually repeat the talking point (and lie) that CRT is not taught in schools. Their defensiveness—and the facts—suggest otherwise.

CRT stereotypes Whites as oppressors and all Black or Brown-skinned people as oppressed by its very definition. This identity-based Marxist curriculum ironically perpetuates racist ideology, making broad proclamations about groups of people based solely on skin color. It specifically and almost universally paints White people as racist just because of their skin color. It inevitably divides, not unites.

Viewing everything through the lens of race refuses to consider how people are individuals first and members of racial groups second. Individuals make choices and decisions, but the race essentialism furthered by CRT denies an individual's ability to exercise agency and personal choice.

Indoctrinating young and impressionable children who lack life experiences with CRT and dividing everyone as victims or victimizers based on race will surely have long-term negative consequences. Parents are right to be concerned and are making their voices heard.

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