Understanding Critical Race Theory: A Reader for Educators

[Note: Access a PP of this material and more HERE]

Update 22 February 2022: What is critical race theory?

UPDATE: Understanding the Attacks on Critical Race Theory (NEPC)

While Republicans continue to claim the U.S. “is not a racist country” and passing legislation directly and indirectly banning critical race theory (CRT) and the 1619 project, the recent comments by former VP Mike Pence capture the real message behind these events:

For Republicans and conservatives who reject systemic racism as a “left-wing myth,” there remains a significant challenge: How can we explain the tremendous racial gaps (see below) that exist in the U.S. between Black and white Americans?

These attacks are directly effecting K-12 and higher education; therefore, educators must be well informed about these issues. Here are valuable resources for understanding CRT, the 1619 Project, and systemic racism:

Critical Race Theory

Why Critical Race Theory (CRT) is Controversial

A Lesson on Critical Race Theory

Perspective | Trump calls critical race theory ‘un-American.’ Let’s review.

Critical Race Theory

74 Interview: Researcher Gloria Ladson-Billings on Culturally Relevant Teaching, the Role of Teachers in Trump’s America & Lessons From Her Two Decades in Education Research

But That’s Just Good Teaching! The Case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, Gloria Ladson-Billings

Academic Who Brought Critical Race Theory To Education Says Bills Are Misguided

Code of Conduct: A Guide to Responsive Discipline

OPINION: Using critical race theory to understand the backlash against it

The Conspicuous Absence of Derrick Bell—Rethinking the CRT Debate, Part 1

What’s Really Behind the 1619 Backlash? An Interview With Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates

Watch “Critical Race Theory & Culturally Responsive Teaching: An Open Conversation About What the Right Gets Wrong” on #Vimeo

What Critical Race Theory Is, and What It Means for Teachers

Critical Race Theory: A Brief History

Critical Race Theory: What It Is. And What It Is Not. A Q&A with Adrienne Dixson (NEPC)

Busting Anti-Racist Education Myths, Rick Wormeli

The 1619 Project

1619 Project

What History Professors Really Think About ‘The 1619 Project’

Systemic Racism

7 Ways We Know Systemic Racism Is Real

Rate of fatal police shootings in the United States from 2015 to May 2021, by ethnicity

Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race–ethnicity, and sex

The Essence of Innocence: Consequences of Dehumanizing Black Children

The social category “children” defines a group of individuals who are perceived to be distinct, with essential characteristics including innocence and the need for protection (Haslam, Rothschild, & Ernst, 2000). The present research examined whether Black boys are given the protections of childhood equally to their peers. We tested 3 hypotheses: (a) that Black boys are seen as less “childlike” than their White peers, (b) that the characteristics associated with childhood will be applied less when thinking specifically about Black boys relative to White boys, and (c) that these trends would be exacerbated in contexts where Black males are dehumanized by associating them (implicitly) with apes (Goff, Eberhardt, Williams, & Jackson, 2008). We expected, derivative of these 3 principal hypotheses, that individuals would perceive Black boys as being more responsible for their actions and as being more appropriate targets for police violence. We find support for these hypotheses across 4 studies using laboratory, field, and translational (mixed laboratory/field) methods. We find converging evidence that Black boys are seen as older and less innocent and that they prompt a less essential conception of childhood than do their White same-age peers. Further, our findings demonstrate that the Black/ape association predicted actual racial disparities in police violence toward children. These data represent the first attitude/behavior matching of its kind in a policing context. Taken together, this research suggests that dehumanization is a uniquely dangerous intergroup attitude, that intergroup perception of children is underexplored, and that both topics should be research priorities.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2014, Vol. 106, No. 4, 526 –545

Characteristics of Public School Teachers

Figure 2. Percentage distribution of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity: School years 1999–2000 and 2017–18

The Civil Rights Project: School Discipline

Stop the School-to-Prison Pipeline

When the Best isn’t Good Enough: The Racial Representation Gap in Education

Discretion and Disproportionality: Explaining the Underrepresentation of High-Achieving Students of Color in Gifted Programs

Students of color are underrepresented in gifted programs relative to White students, but the reasons for this underrepresentation are poorly understood. We investigate the predictors of gifted assignment using nationally representative, longitudinal data on elementary students. We document that even among students with high standardized test scores, Black students are less likely to be assigned to gifted services in both math and reading, a pattern that persists when controlling for other background factors, such as health and socioeconomic status, and characteristics of classrooms and schools. We then investigate the role of teacher discretion, leveraging research from political science suggesting that clients of government services from traditionally underrepresented groups benefit from diversity in the providers of those services, including teachers. Even after conditioning on test scores and other factors, Black students indeed are referred to gifted programs, particularly in reading, at significantly lower rates when taught by non-Black teachers, a concerning result given the relatively low incidence of assignment to own-race teachers among Black students.


What We Get Wrong About Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

Grade Retention and Expulsions/Suspensions: Black students disproportionately retained (grades 3 and 4) and expelled (USDOE/Office of Civil Rights) – Data 2017-2018

Schools, black children, and corporal punishment

Racial disparities in school-based disciplinary actions are associated with county-level rates of racial bias

There are substantial gaps in educational outcomes between black and white students in the United States. Recently, increased attention has focused on differences in the rates at which black and white students are disciplined, finding that black students are more likely to be seen as problematic and more likely to be punished than white students are for the same offense. Although these disparities suggest that racial biases are a contributor, no previous research has shown associations with psychological measurements of bias and disciplinary outcomes. We show that county-level estimates of racial bias, as measured using data from approximately 1.6 million visitors to the Project Implicit website, are associated with racial disciplinary disparities across approximately 96,000 schools in the United States, covering around 32 million white and black students. These associations do not extend to sexuality biases, showing the specificity of the effect. These findings suggest that acknowledging that racial biases and racial disparities in education go hand-in-hand may be an important step in resolving both of these social ills.


Re-Imagining School Discipline: A Plea To Education Leaders

How Non-Zero Tolerance Policies Better Support Our Students: Part II