More than 40 percent of teachers say civics education should be focused on critical race theory, according to a Heritage Foundation study released Monday.
The report found that 43 percent of teachers are familiar with critical race theory. Of those teachers, 55 percent supported the doctrine, which teaches that American institutions are inherently racist. Forty-one percent of teachers said civics education should focus on critical race theory, while 57.5 percent of teachers said critical race theory should be included in civics education. Parents were marginally less supportive of critical race theory compared to teachers.
Parents and educators have feuded over the future of American civics education in recent months. Voters in Virginia and Texas have ousted pro-critical race theory school board members in recent elections. Red state legislators have moved to ban critical race theory, while blue states have encouraged it. The Illinois State Board of Education in February approved standards that asked teachers to “mitigate” behaviors that stem from “unearned privilege” and “Eurocentrism.”
The Heritage Foundation conducted the survey of 1,003 teachers and 1,012 parents from December 2020 through February 2021. The report’s authors claim that teaching critical race theory in schools could reverse “the immense progress this country has made in race relations and equality.”
“Young Americans are taught not to be proud of their country, but to see it as an oppressor,” the study says. “In order to reverse this destructive and dangerous trend, it is essential that schools teach America’s founding principles, while at the same time build strong relationships between parents and teachers.”
While critical race theory in schools has made headlines over the past year, 65 percent of parents said they were not familiar, or unsure if they were familiar with, critical race theory. Just under 57 percent of teachers said the same.
Parent groups opposed to radical education have made headway in informing parents about critical race theory, said report co-author Adam Kissel, senior fellow at the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy.
“A lot of parents and teachers remain unaware of the Critical Race Theory in American classrooms, but that has started to change with the great work of parent organizations such as Moms for Liberty and Parents Defending Education,” Kissel told the Washington Free Beacon.
Lindsey Burke, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy and a co-author of the report, told the Free Beacon that the report reveals a need for school districts to communicate with parents about how they teach children.
“One of the big take-aways from this survey is the need for transparency around what is taught in taxpayer-funded K-12 schools across the country,” Burke said. “Too often, it is difficult for parents to get clear information about the curriculum and materials employed in their children’s schools.”
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