The Majority of Students Are Learning Critical Race & Gender Theory

The Majority of Students Are Learning Critical Race & Gender Theory November 7, 2022

When parents complain that their children are being taught critical race and gender theory in their schools, the education establishment and the progressive media usually deny it.  “Critical race and gender theory is an academic approach pursued by some legal researchers and other specialized scholarship,” they will say.  “We’re not a law school or a research institution, we’re an elementary school!  Of course we don’t teach critical race or gender theory!”

This is ingenuous and dishonest, a case of parsing technicalities.  No, the elementary schools are not teaching critical race and gender theory,  as a specialized academic topic.  But they may well be teaching in a way informed by critical theory and teaching material that is in accord with critical theory.  That is to say, they may not teach the “theory,” but they teach what the theory puts forward as “facts.”  Ask if the teachers or the school practice “critical pedagogy.” That has become a staple of university teacher training programs and state Department of Education requirements.

To see if students have in fact been taught the tenets of these theories, City Journal commissioned a study that asks not teachers but their students what they have been taught.  Researchers Zach Goldberg and Eric Kaufmann of the Manhattan Institute surveyed a nationally represented sample of 1,505 young people aged 18-20.  That is to say, high school seniors and recent graduates.  They were asked whether they had ever been taught or heard about from an adult at school various concepts put forward by critical race and gender theorists.

According to the preliminary report,

  • 62% reported that they had been taught or heard from an adult in school that “America is a racist country.”
  • 69% that “white people have white privilege”
  • 57% that “white people have unconscious biases negatively affect non-white people”
  • 67% that “America is built on stolen land.”
  • 53% that “America is a patriarchal society”
  • 51% that “gender is an identity choice” regardless of biology

Some of the students surveyed were in college or had some college experience.  The study sorted out those respondents in  separate but more specific questions.

Of those who had attended college, 58%  had been taught or heard in school that “discrimination is the main reason for differences in wealth or other outcomes between races or genders.”  Of  high school students and recent graduates who did not go on to college, 50% had been exposed to that idea in school.

Gender issues do not have the same traction.  Of those who had attended college, 26% had been taught that “there are many genders, not just male and female.”  Of those who just attended high school, 25% were exposed to that idea.

I would like to see a study of what elementary school children have been learning about these kinds of things.  And I would like to have seen the data sorted out more in this study between college and high school.  My impression is that college students get the biggest dose of critical pedagogy, though secondary school students are also subjected to it to a significant degree in class.


Photo by Pixabay via pexels, CC0.

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