Some educators are directed to avoid classroom discussions about race even though research suggests that those conversations help people to see a broader perspective on issues.
A Rand Corp. survey released on Wednesday (Aug. 10) found that about 25% of K-12 teachers were told by school or district officials to limit lessons on race, racism or bias, NBC News reports. About one-third of educators were given that directive through state mandates.
This new data offers a glimpse into what is happening in public schools as mostly Republican-dominated state legislatures restrict classroom conversations about the history of racism in the United States and its impact on Black Americans today.
There’s a movement to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT), a college-level academic framework to analyze systemic racism that’s not taught in primary and secondary schools. This policy, which several Republican-led states have also taken up, is widely viewed as a GOP misinformation campaign to stir up its political base for the 2022 midterm election.
About 54 percent of educators oppose legal limits on classroom conversations about racism, sexism and other contentious topics. The opposition to those policies were higher among teachers (59 percent) and principals (62 percent) of color.
The survey also uncovered differences between teachers in urban areas who tend to agree that systemic racism exists and their counterparts in small city and rural communities who believe instances of racism are isolated occurrences.
Some teachers report having difficulty introducing diverse perspectives on issues in their lesson plans that comply with the mandated restrictions, as parents pressure them to steer away from discussions about race and inequality.
Days before Rand released its survey, new research found that learning about the historic and structural roots of racial inequality between Black and white Americans increased the proportion of white Republicans and Independents in the study who now believe that racism exists and it is systemic.