Policy opinions regarding the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools

General Information

Policy opinions regarding the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools
Nevbahar Ertas and Andrew N McKnight
Publication Type
Journal paper
Policy Futures in Education
Critical Race Theory (CRT) has recently been positioned as a serious problem requiring urgent policy response among partisan media outlets. Making a case for pressing policy demands, several policy makers have proposed federal, state, and local level legislation and other measures to restrict how race, racism, or American history in general can be taught in K-12 schools, higher education institutions, and state agencies. Anti-CRT rhetoric in media and policy proposals have also propagated the notion of CRT as being divisive as well as ubiquitous in public education. Given this, it is critical to examine whether policy opinions regarding reactionary legislation is based on a real understanding of CRT. We conduct a conceptual and theoretical inquiry into anti-CRT rhetoric relying on the sociological concepts of moral panics and folk devils. Then, we examine familiarity, knowledge, ideology, policy beliefs, and policy opinions regarding CRT in education using nationally representative survey data. The analysis showed that most parents are not familiar with CRT, and the average parent neither opposes nor supports teaching of CRT. The opposition to teaching of CRT is largely driven by political affiliation and related ideological beliefs and positions.