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Efforts to restrict teaching of racism multiply

New York Teacher

A nationwide campaign to restrict the teaching of racism and bias is affecting the education of more than 17.7 million public school students, according to a University of California at Los Angeles study.

A majority of the nearly 300 educators and 21 school equity officers who responded to the survey said they experienced efforts to restrict or ban lessons on race. They said their efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion were also curtailed. Educators reported self-censoring on these topics for fear of stoking controversy.

Right-wing politicians have launched a barrage of state and local laws aiming to stamp out “critical race theory,” an academic framework that examines how policies and the law perpetuate systemic racism. So far, at least 36 states have adopted or introduced laws or policies that restrict teaching about race and racism.

Districts where the percentage of white student enrollment fell by more than 18 percent since 2000 were more than three times as likely as districts with minimal or no percentage change in the enrollment of white students to experience conflict over critical race theory, according to the UCLA report.

“It’s those precise districts that you would want young people to come together and have meaningful, complex conversations about race and America’s future and their common purpose,” said study co-author John Rogers, a professor of education at UCLA.

Education Week, Jan. 27