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.
Retired Elementary School Principal
Los Angeles, Calif.
A version of this article appeared in the July 14, 2021 edition of Education Week as Academic Freedom Calls for Critical Race Theory Instruction