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In recent months, state lawmakers have waded into the ongoing debate over how to teach the nation’s complicated history—and make sense of its present.
A slate of new bills proposed by Republican legislators this session attempt to regulate how teachers can discuss racism, sexism, and issues of equality and justice in the classroom.
Many of these lawmakers say their proposals are designed to keep critical race theory out of schools. The academic framework, created by legal scholars in the 1970s and 80s, posits that racism isn’t just the product of individual bias—but embedded in legal systems and policies.
As of June 10, legislators in 20 states have introduced bills that would restrict teaching critical race theory or limit how teachers can discuss racism and sexism, according to an Education Week analysis. Four states have signed these bills into law.
Over the past year, the idea of critical race theory has become a political flashpoint. While in office, former President Donald Trump pushed for “patriotic education” and accused teachers who discussed racism and bias with students of “left-wing indoctrination.” Last fall, he issued an executive order banning certain types of diversity training for federal employees. Sixteen of the state bills recently introduced use language from this order.
Lawmakers who have authored these bills claim that teachers have adopted the tenets of critical race theory, and are teaching about race, gender, and identity in ways that sow division among students. But opponents claim that such legislation will stifle discussion of how racism and sexism have shaped the country’s past and continue to affect social, political, and economic systems. Some administrators have already said laws like these would halt their efforts to root out racism in schools. And scholars of critical race theory have argued that the laws mischaracterize the framework.
See the map and table below for more information on the bills’ statuses and variations from state to state.
- What Is Critical Race Theory, and Why Is It Under Attack?
- Efforts to Root Out Racism in Schools Would Unravel Under ‘Critical Race Theory’ Bills
- Critical Race Theory Puts Educators at Center of a Frustrating Cultural Fight Once Again
- Video: What Is Critical Race Theory and Why Are States Banning It?
How to Cite This Page
Map: Where Critical Race Theory Is Under Attack (2021, June 11). Education Week. Retrieved Month Day, Year from http://www.edweek.org/leadership/map-where-critical-race-theory-is-under-attack/2021/06
Data compilation and reporting: Sarah Schwartz
Data visualization by Emma Patti Harris and Eesha Pendharkar