What is critical race theory, and why is it controversial?

Texas, Oklahoma among states banning certain concepts related to race and racism from being discussed in classrooms
Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 4:04 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 7:19 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KSLA) — New laws going into effect in several states have some educators wondering what will be acceptable in the classroom.

Texas is among the latest states to adopt legislation limiting conversation about critical race theory.

The measure that goes into effect Sept. 1 in the Lone Star State prevents certain concepts related to race and racism from being discussed in the classroom. Educators and civil rights advocates strongly oppose that position.

Proponents of bills that also have been adopted by Florida and Oklahoma, among others, say the laws — which don’t address critical race theory by name — are necessary at a time of racial tension.

Those laws say schoolteachers can’t:

  • be compelled to discuss a particular current event or controversial public policy issue,
  • give deference to any one perspective, and,
  • give credit for students who participate in lobbying or public policy internships.

Critical race theory primarily is taught in post-secondary institutions, rather than K-12 schools.

KSLA News 12′s Destinee Patterson talked by phone to a Texas professor who specializes in critical race theory. She declined a formal interview because she said she does not know what she will be able to teach moving forward and has to consult her department head.

Before hanging up, the professor voiced her concerns about the bill, calling it “idiotic” and rhetorically asking, “What does it mean for universities?”

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