Opinion
Teaching Letter to the Editor

Academic Freedom Calls for Critical Race Theory Instruction

Teachers should be trained to guide students through many concepts and processes—including CRT
July 12, 2021 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Critical race theory cannot be effectively mandated or forbidden in classroom instruction and practice (“What Is Critical Race Theory, and Why Is It Under Attack?” May 18, 2021).
Ask any educator—teachers have found a way to modify curricula to fit their classroom-instruction ideals no matter what curricula have been prescribed. With the best of intentions, they skip chapters in textbooks; bring in alternate resources at their own expense; develop their own instructional practices; and enrich the classroom experience with their talents, skills, and backgrounds.
Also, while educators may try to inculcate a belief system, the range of teacher beliefs in schools will expose students to a variety of views. Given that students will typically have several teachers throughout their school years, no single teacher should have undue influence. But it is better to have teachers who do not inhibit a student’s ability to develop their own beliefs. Young children are especially susceptible to didactic methods and must be protected from those who would take advantage of this vulnerability.

Intermediate through secondary teacher training should emphasize the introduction of concepts, the discovery and presentation of facts, and the exploration of possibilities if facts are uncertain or if there is conflicting evidence. This is accomplished through the scientific method in science, by proofs and models in mathematics, and by the Socratic method and ensuing debate in social studies and literature. Teachers should be well prepared to guide students through the many processes—and CRT might be addressed in a secondary classroom, or not.

Leah Anesta
Retired Elementary School Principal
Los Angeles, Calif.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the July 14, 2021 edition of Education Week as Academic Freedom Calls for Critical Race Theory Instruction

Events

Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Reframing Behavior: Neuroscience-Based Practices for Positive Support
Reframing Behavior helps teachers see the “why” of behavior through a neuroscience lens and provides practices that fit into a school day.
Content provided by Crisis Prevention Institute

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Opinion So Much Research, So Little Time for Teachers to Put It Into Practice
Education research is voluminous, but teachers often aren't shown how to adapt the findings into their practice.
10 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Teaching A Classroom Management Training Helps New Teachers Send Fewer Kids to the Office
Anti-bias training has mixed success in cutting racial discipline gaps. Helping teachers interpret student behavior may be more effective.
9 min read
Students raise their hands during an assembly at Yates Magnet Elementary School in Schenectady, N.Y., on March 28, 2024.
Students raise their hands during an assembly at Yates Magnet Elementary School in Schenectady, N.Y., on March 28, 2024.
Scott Rossi for Education Week
Teaching Lazy? Anxious? Overlooked? Teachers Sound Off on Unmotivated Students
Teachers have lots of opinions about who's responsible for student "laziness."
5 min read
Bored young man in class.
E+ / Getty
Teaching Opinion How to Make Summer School Effective and Engaging
Along with offering meaningful academic lessons, these educators advise incorporating fun so that students want to come to summer school.
6 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty