Answers To Common Questions About Critical Race Theory In Texas
In recent years, critical race theory (CRT) has been a widely discussed and hotly debated issue. Yet many people do not understand CRT, including many who have worked feverishly to ban it. On this page, we’ll answer some common questions about CRT as it impacts students and educators. After reading, we invite you to contact our attorneys at Ellwanger Henderson for answers to your own questions during a free initial consultation.
What exactly is critical race theory?
It is an educational framework for examining the role that race and racism have played and continue to play in American life. One of its main tenets is that racism is not limited to the thoughts and ideas of individuals. Rather, it is deeply woven into our nation’s laws, policies, employment practices, economy and institutions. The effects of systemic racism perpetuate inequality to this day.
CRT has been around since the 1970s and was created by educational and legal scholars. It became a widely discussed topic starting in 2019 with the publication of “The 1619 Project,” a collaborative journalism effort by author Nikole Hannah-Jones and writers from The New York Times.
Why are so many Americans opposed to CRT?
Critical race theory has become a catch-all term used to describe any educational curriculum or even discussions about racism in America. Opponents are strongly against any assertions that America is inherently racist, that systemic changes need to be made or even that white people should feel uncomfortable while learning about their own history.
Is CRT taught in Texas schools?
Critical race theory is not being taught at the elementary or high school level to any of the 5.5 million students in Texas public schools. It has always been a university-level academic discipline. The term has been co-opted by activists seeking bans on discussions of race, inequality, diversity and similar subjects in schools.
If CRT isn’t being taught, why do we need to worry about legislation or policies banning it?
At least two bills banning the teaching of CRT have been passed and enacted in Texas. Like most reactionary legislation, the wording of the bills is problematically broad and vague. This makes it hard for teachers and school districts to comply with the laws and makes it easy for CRT opponents to push back against any lesson plans or educators they find objectionable.
The overall effect of these bans is a stifling of free speech and freedom of expression. Such legislation/policies place a higher priority on preventing discomfort and feelings of guilt in white students than they do on teaching fact-based history and civics courses.
How will the CRT controversy affect me as a teacher?
In the short time that CRT bans have been in place in Texas, a significant number of teachers have been harassed or threatened, faced employment consequences or felt forced to resign. Many others have engaged in self-censorship of factual information due to fears of the same.
If your rights as an educator have been violated, please contact our experienced and passionate civil rights attorneys to discuss your legal options.
Can students take action related to bans on CRT?
Yes, you can! Your freedom of speech and expression are important and they deserve to be protected. You can donate to civil rights causes that are important to you, and you can contact your elected officials to voice your opposition to these violations of your First Amendment rights.
If you’ve been directly censored or faced other personal consequences due to bans on the teaching of critical race theory, we invite you to tell us your story during a free initial consultation.
Contact Us Today To Discuss Your Rights And Legal Options
Ellwanger Henderson serves clients throughout Texas and beyond. To take advantage of a free initial consultation with our education rights attorneys, call us at 737-808-2260 or submit an online contact form.