Campus Reform | Universities train future teachers to push Critical Race Theory and social justice

Universities train future teachers to push Critical Race Theory and social justice

Colleges across the US are showing education students how to apply CRT and social justice to their profession.

Curricula at many institutions focuses on K-12 education.

As the controversy over Critical Race Theory rages across the country, several prominent teacher preparation programs are training future teachers to use Critical Race Theory in the classroom.  Several of the nation's largest teacher preparation programs are training future teachers to use Critical Race Theory in the classroom. 

Campus Reform reviewed course descriptions for upcoming classes in college teacher training programs at several major universities. Many intentionally prepare students to use progressive ideology in their own classrooms. Several use Critical Race Theory and social justice as a starting point for learning how to teach. 

Among those courses are the University of North Carolina education department’s class, “"Critical Race Theory: History, Research, and Practice.” The course will cover how Critical Race Theory connects to “LatCrit Theory, AsianCrit, QueerCrit, TribalCrit, and Critical Race Feminism,” those terms being more recent areas of study that draw heavily from Critical Race Theory.  

Those UNC education students will have a chance to put their Critical Race Theory knowledge into practice in a class on “The Mexican American/Chicanx Experience in Education.” That course description promises “using critical race theory...as we move across various geopolitical dimensions of contestation, resistance, and immigration.”

Duke University offers a similar course with an activism element: The class "Critical Race Theory in Education" will have students "prepare a policy proposal that addresses systemic racial inequities within K-12 education." Rather than being an academic examination of a controversial theory, the course will require students to use "the framework of critical race theory" to "apply case study analysis to their own K-12 education."

Duke is far from the only university where education students are being trained to be activists. At the University of New Mexico, the course "Social Justice in Education" will teach future teachers "to integrate principles of social justice fully into classroom curriculum and instruction." At the University of Nevada-Reno, the course "Social Justice and Education" will train future teachers to "propose socially just educational approaches." These students will also "examine policies [and] curricul[a]...that promote social justice." 

Education majors at Ohio Wesleyan University are required to take "Teaching for Equity and Social Justice," which addresses "systems of power, privilege, and oppression." Through this course, the university trains its education majors and its social justice majors the same way: Both must take this course in order to graduate. 

Other course descriptions use the language of Critical Race Theory without stating the theory's name outright. For instance, the University of Florida will teach elementary education majors to "focus on becoming an antiracist teacher" through a course titled "Studying Equity Pedagogy." The term "antiracist" was popularized by critical race theorists Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo, among others. 

Ball State University's "Early and Elementary Education for Social Justice" class, offered by the school's Elementary Education Department, makes clear through the title that the course’s end goal is social justice in the classroom. Though the course description says the course will cover “social, economic, cultural, and linguistic diversity” in modern early education, but not how the class is oriented toward social justice. 

At the University of Michigan, education students can take "Teaching to Transgress," which will teach them "skills needed to realize bell hooks' vision." bell hooks is a feminist activist and author who argues that we live in a "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy."

These courses are all being offered by college departments that train future educators. David Randall, Director of Research at the National Association of Scholars, told Campus Reform that "Education schools have been a major source of radical indoctrination for several generations now." He recommended that state legislators "create stricter content requirements: Social studies teachers should be majors of history or political science, not education." 

He continued, "We should have high expectations of teachers, who in turn should have high expectations of students."

The expectations that teachers colleges set for their students, however, sometimes involve preparing to use progressive world views in the classroom.

Cherise Trump, the Executive Director of Speech First, shares Randall's concerns. "This will inevitably lead to K-12 education focusing on the same theories that will teach kids to prioritize race above all else and lead society down the dangerous path of identity politics," she told Campus Reform.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito