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Millions of schoolchildren learn about everything from ‘white privilege’ to ‘systemic racism’ and ‘unconscious bias’ in class, according to a soon-to-be released study on critical race theory (CRT) in American schools.

Researchers at the Manhattan Institute, a right-wing think tank with a record of spotlighting CRT, found that 93 percent of respondents, aged 18-20, had learned about at least one aspect of the controversial racial justice theory in schools.

Report author Zach Goldberg said the findings were ‘disturbing’ and stood in stark contrast to claims from some teacher groups that CRT was not taught to high schoolers, but was confined to university law courses.

‘Even assuming exposure is overestimated in the current data, it’s safe to say that a sizable share of the pre-college student population is being subjected to this stuff,’ Goldberg posted on social media.

Critical Race Theory: on the syllabus 

Opponents of critical race theory rallying outside a school board headquarters, in Ashburn, Virginia, last year

WHAT IS CRITICAL RACE THEORY? 

Cornell Law School Prof. William Jacobson launched a CRT database CriticalRace.org

Critical race theory is a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism. Scholars developed it during the 1970s and 1980s in response to what they viewed as a lack of racial progress following the civil rights legislation of the 1960s.

It centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that they function to maintain the dominance of white people in society.

The architects of the theory argue that the US was founded on the theft of land and labor and that federal law has preserved the unequal treatment of people on the basis of race. Proponents also believe race is culturally invented, not biological.

Kimberlé Crenshaw, executive director of the African American Policy Forum, a social justice think tank based in New York City, was one of the early proponents. Initially, she says, it was ‘simply about telling a more complete story of who we are.’

The report comes amid debates over teaching racism and gender identity that have exploded into angry face-offs involving parents and teachers at school board meetings across the nation. 

CRT rests on the premise that racial bias — intentional or not — is baked into US laws and institutions, and that the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow racial segregation laws continues to create an uneven playing field for nonwhite Americans.

While most Americans support teaching high schoolers about slavery and racism in US history, many are opposed to CRT, which many conservatives see as a rewrite of history to indoctrinate children with ‘woke’ ideology.

As Americans tackled racial and social injustice after the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020, several Republican-led states including Florida, Georgia and Texas enacted rules to limit teaching about the role of racism in the US.

While crime, immigration, abortion access and inflation are at the top of voters’ concerns, the teaching of CRT in schools also enlivens many Republicans and could win votes in some key states in the midterm elections on November 8.

Goldberg and other researchers involved in the study are colleagues of think tank fellow Christopher Rufo, who has largely set the right’s agenda on the teaching of gender ideology and CRT in schools.

The team surveyed 1,505 young adults about their experiences at school and found that 93 percent had either been taught about or heard from an adult at school about one of the central components of CRT.

These included how ‘America is a systematically racist country, that ‘white people have privilege’ and ‘unconscious bias that negatively affects non-white people’ or that the nation was built on ‘stolen land’. 

More than half of students either learned about or heard from an adult that the US was a ‘patriarchal society’ and that gender was an ‘identity choice, regardless of the biological sex you were born into’, researchers found.

Students learn about gender and ‘unconscious bias’ in classrooms 

The think tank team surveyed 1,505 young adults aged 18-20 about their experiences at school

While millions of parents would be happy for their children to study such topics in class, the study authors said the real problem was that they were being presented ‘uncritically’, without competing ideas and as ‘undisputed facts’.

‘This is indoctrination, and governments should act swiftly to put a stop to it,’ said the report.

‘Unless voters, parents, and governments act, these illiberal and unscientific ideas will spread more widely, and will replace traditional American liberal nationalism with an identity-based cultural socialism.’

The study echoes findings last month from another conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, which ranked Florida at the top and New York and Washington DC at the bottom of a scale for ‘freedom’ in schools.   

The conservative think tank released its first-ever Education Freedom Report Card, which says it evaluates states on value for money, parental input and transparency in their school systems. 

It penalizes states with ‘woke‘ teachers’ unions and that tolerate lessons on CRT.

It lauded Florida’s Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, a potential White House candidate for 2024 who has made national headlines with his efforts to restrict race-based conversation and analysis in schools and businesses. 

This content was originally published here.

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