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.
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States How Laws on Race, Sexuality Could Clash With Culturally Responsive Teaching
Critical race theory and culturally responsive teaching are not the same thing. But bans of one could impact the other.
Ileana Najarro, April 21, 2022
7 min read
teacher diverse classroom
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Equity & Diversity Q&A What Should Culturally Relevant Teaching Look Like Today? Gloria Ladson-Billings Explains
"The attack on anything that allows more participation and moves us toward equity is going full force," the scholar said.
Madeline Will, April 20, 2022
8 min read
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Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
Teaching Explainer What Is Culturally Responsive Teaching?
Here's what it means to be a culturally responsive teacher and where critical race theory ties in—or not.
Madeline Will & Ileana Najarro, April 18, 2022
17 min read
Illustration of school building under construction with a heart being suspended from a crane.
F. Sheehan for Education Week/Getty
School & District Management Opinion The Anti-Racist Counternarrative Public Education Needs Now
In the face of a national movement to discredit public education, educators must respond with our own movement prioritizing anti-racism.
Gregory C. Hutchings Jr., April 6, 2022
5 min read
Students in Scott Frank's International Baccalaureate History Class analyze specific images and paragraphs from muckraking journalists during the progressive era for a class assignment this school year.
Students at IDEA Frontier College Preparatory in Brownsville, Texas, analyze images and paragraphs for an assignment in Scott Frank's history class. Frank, who uses AP U.S. History material in the course, said he feels nervous about whether the content he teaches in the class will be viewed as violating Texas' restrictions on teaching subject matter deemed controversial.
Courtesy of Scott Frank
Curriculum College Board Warns Against Censoring Its AP Courses
The organization that runs AP courses reminds teachers of its principles, as more states pass anti-critical race theory laws.
Ileana Najarro, March 14, 2022
7 min read
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Curriculum Opinion Do Parents Want Schools to Be Able to Teach About Racism?
A poll helped us understand parents' views on whether schools should be allowed to teach about racism, write two education policy experts.
Evan Rhinesmith & J. Cameron Anglum, March 2, 2022
5 min read
Monica Wilbur expresses her opposition to critical race theory at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Standing behind her is Betty Sawyer, who holds an opposing point of view.
Monica Wilbur expresses her opposition to critical race theory at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Standing behind her is Betty Sawyer, who holds an opposing point of view.
Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP
Equity & Diversity Efforts to Ban Critical Race Theory Could Restrict Teaching for a Third of America's Kids
Teachers are refusing to talk about anything race-related and administrators of color are being harassed, according to a new study.
Eesha Pendharkar, January 27, 2022
6 min read
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Equity & Diversity From Our Research Center Do Educators Think Critical Race Theory Should Be Taught in Class? We Asked
An EdWeek poll shows educators are split over whether children should be taught that racism is systemic and embedded in American policies.
Eesha Pendharkar, January 20, 2022
2 min read
Image of a social study book coming to visual life with edits to the content.
Illustration by Laura Baker/Education Week (Source imagery: Orensila and iStock/Getty)
Social Studies Revising America's Racist Past
How the 'critical race theory' debate is crashing headlong into efforts to update social studies standards.
Stephen Sawchuk, January 18, 2022
27 min read
Kristin Allan won a nonpartisan race for a seat on the Cherry Creek school district's board in Colorado.
Kristin Allan won a nonpartisan race for seat on the Cherry Creek school district's board in Colorado.
Rachel Woolf for Education Week
School & District Management Critical Race Theory Fights Have Made Life Miserable for School Board Candidates
Discussing the divisive issue in a way that works with voters is no easy task. Just ask those who've tried it, with mixed results.
Andrew Ujifusa, December 14, 2021
8 min read
Conceptual image of tug-of-war in classroom setting.
Laura Baker/Education Week and sesame/DigitalVision Vectors and iStock/photo
Student Well-Being Schools Face Fears of 'Critical Race Theory' as They Scale Up Social-Emotional Learning
This is a pivotal moment for social-emotional learning as K-12 schools expand programs but experience political pushback in some places.
Arianna Prothero & Evie Blad, December 13, 2021
14 min read
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Curriculum Opinion Media Coverage of Critical Race Theory Misses the Mark
News accounts of critical race theory focus on topics that are not particularly controversial, while neglecting those that are.
Rick Hess, November 15, 2021
4 min read
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Curriculum A 'War on Books': Conservatives Push for Audits of School Libraries
After Texas banned critical race theory in schools, battles grew heated in the conservative suburbs surrounding the state's largest cities.
Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, November 8, 2021
12 min read
Photo shows a summer day in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, DC.
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Law & Courts How Critical Race Theory Made an Appearance in Abortion Case Before the U.S. Supreme Court
Some fear the Texas abortion law that relies on private enforcement could prompt similar measures for race discussions at school.
Mark Walsh, November 1, 2021
4 min read