Critical Race Theory

Education news, analysis, and opinion about the roiling debate over, and the politicization of, the term "critical race theory" and what that means for schools

Explainer

What Is Critical Race Theory, and Why Is It Under Attack?
Debates about critical race theory are coming to your district, board room, and classroom. Here's what you need to understand about the academic concept—and how it's portrayed in political circles.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, above, is named in a new lawsuit alleging that the state's recent law restricting teaching on race and sex is unconstitutional.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, above, is named in a new lawsuit alleging that the state's recent law restricting teaching on race and sex is unconstitutional.
Sue Ogrocki/AP
Law & Courts Critical Race Theory Law Violates Teachers' Free Speech, ACLU Argues in New Lawsuit
The lawsuit alleges Oklahoma's law harms students of color and weakens what all students learn about the state's history.
Stephen Sawchuk, October 19, 2021
4 min read
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey speaks during a bill signing in Phoenix on April 15, 2021. Ducey signed legislation banning government agencies from requiring training in so-called "critical race theory" as he begins considering the remaining bills from the legislative session that ended last week.
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill in April that would ban school districts from requiring training in so-called "critical race theory." That law is now being challenged in courts.
Ross D. Franklin/AP
States Critical Race Theory Law Runs Into Legal Trouble in Arizona
A county judge ruled last month that Arizona's restriction on classroom discussions about race was passed in a deceptive manner.
Eesha Pendharkar, October 8, 2021
3 min read
Fans of Angie Thomas, a Jackson, Miss., resident whose book, "The Hate U Give," has been on a national young adult best-seller list for over 80 weeks, show off their copies at a reception and book signing for the author, in Jackson on Oct. 10, 2018. Thomas' novel has crossed over to a wider audience than simply young adults. The reception honored her writing as well as the coming release of the big screen adaption of the first novel.
The young adult best-seller "The Hate U Give" was one of the top 10 most challenged books of 2020.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
Curriculum Calls to Ban Books by Black Authors Are Increasing Amid Critical Race Theory Debates
Books about race and the experiences of Black Americans are being challenged by parents who claim they make white children feel uncomfortable.
Madeline Will, September 30, 2021
8 min read
Illustrations.
Mary Hassdyk for Education Week
Equity & Diversity How Have the Debates Over Critical Race Theory Affected You? Share Your Story
We want to hear how new constraints on teaching about racism have affected your schools.
September 14, 2021
1 min read
Image of a "stop" hand overlaying a circle with a red diagonal line.
DigitalVision Vectors
Families & the Community Teachers' Union, Education Groups Unite to Resist Critical Race Theory Bans
Some of the country’s most prominent education groups are organizing against efforts to restrict teaching students about racism.
Sarah Schwartz, September 9, 2021
3 min read
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Eric Gay/AP
States Bill to Restrict How Race and Racism Is Taught in Schools Headed to Texas Governor
If the "critical race theory" bill sounds familiar, that's because lawmakers passed a similar one during the regular legislative session.
Eleanor Dearman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, September 3, 2021
4 min read
Image of an adult and two kids navigating a tightrope with a tangled center.
Collage by Laura Baker/Education Week (Images: iStock/Getty)
School & District Management Local School Boards Are Banning Critical Race Theory. Here's How That Looks in 7 Districts
Districts' "critical race theory" bans have resulted in abandoned DEI initiatives, widespread confusion and, for Black parents, distrust.
Stephen Sawchuk, August 25, 2021
15 min read
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., is seen at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2021 in Washington.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., is seen at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2021 in Washington.<br/>
Graeme Sloan/SIPA USA via AP
Federal How Political Backlash to Critical Race Theory Reached School Reopening Guidance
A lawmaker wants Miguel Cardona to repudiate the Abolitionist Teaching Network after federal COVID-19 documents referenced the group's work.
Andrew Ujifusa, July 23, 2021
6 min read
Conceptual image.
Collage by Laura Baker/Education Week (Images: DigitalVision Vectors and iStock/Getty)
States Interactive Who's Really Driving Critical Race Theory Legislation? An Investigation
Education Week reporting documents a complex web of individuals and conservative organizations supporting this far-reaching legislation.
Sarah Schwartz, July 19, 2021
15 min read
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., speaks during a hearing to examine United States Special Operations Command and United States Cyber Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for fiscal year 2022 and the Future Years Defense Program, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Washington.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill March 25 in Washington.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Federal 'Stop CRT' Bill, Votes in Congress Add to Political Drama Over Critical Race Theory
Sen. Tom Cotton's legislation and votes about critical race theory in the House underscore the issue's potency in Washington.
Andrew Ujifusa, July 15, 2021
5 min read
Illustration of a white hand stopping a black business man with a briefcase in hand from going any further.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Teaching From Our Research Center More Than 9 of Every 10 Teachers Say They've Never Taught About Critical Race Theory
A new survey by the EdWeek Research Center examines critical race theory, remote learning plans, mental health issues, and teacher PD.
Holly Kurtz, July 15, 2021
4 min read
Teaching Collection Critical Race Theory Bans: What Teachers Have to Say
Education Week spoke to nine Texas teachers to understand how the new law will affect social studies instruction and how they run their classrooms.
July 15, 2021
crt texas teachers uncertainty
iStock/Getty Images
Teaching Teachers Share What They Will—and Won't—Do Differently Under Critical Race Theory Law
Seven Texas teachers discuss the ways their classrooms will be affected by a state law restricting how they talk about race and racism with students.
8 min read
Teachers walk out onto a field of speech bubble shaped holes.
Collage by Vanessa Solis/Education Week (Images: iStock/Getty Images)
Teaching What Does the Critical Race Theory Law Mean for Texas Classrooms? Teachers Speak Out
Eight educators share reactions to the new legal limits on classroom discussions in their state.
10 min read