Louisiana Parents and Teachers Concern Over Critical Race Theory in Social Studies Standards

Parents and teachers weighing in on Louisiana’s proposed social studies standards have expressed concern that “critical race theory” will be taught in K-12 schools, according to a report from the Department of Education. Louisiana released this month.

“(Critical race theory) has no place in K-12,” read an anonymous comment. “This standard is a backdoor to teach that one race is better than the other. It also teaches that one group is oppressor and the other is oppressed.

“These changes divide the people and the country,” reads another comment. “All of our children should learn to love our country and have national pride. “

Conservative preoccupations with critical race theory – a framework used to demonstrate how racism has shaped and continues to shape modern society – have swept the country, including the Louisiana legislature. During this year’s legislative session, lawmakers proposed several bills requiring changes to the social studies curriculum in public schools.

The state’s education department released a preview of public comments on the proposed social studies standards ahead of the Louisiana Elementary-Secondary Education Council meeting this week.

From September 30 to November 30, 423 Louisiana residents left about 1,800 comments on the social studies proposal. About 40% of the reviewers were parents and guardians from Louisiana, 45% were K-12 teachers, 9% were other Louisiana citizens, and only 1% were K-12 students. year.

The Social Studies Standards provide a guideline on what Louisiana students are expected to learn in each year. In Louisiana, they’re supposed to be reviewed and revised every seven years, but current standards have not changed since 2010-2011, meaning the state is three years overdue for a review.

If approved, the proposed standards would require kindergarten children to learn how people create community, for example with “local traditions / celebrations, customs, languages ​​and foods as an introduction to culture”. First-graders would take social studies classes with an emphasis on Louisiana culture and history, and second-graders would take social studies classes with an emphasis on culture and l history of the United States.

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Students in grades three through five would learn world history from prehistoric times to AD 1600. Students in grades six to eight would learn the history of Louisiana from 1580 to 1975, including “the perspectives, experiences, and contributions of various groups and individuals in Louisiana.”

The proposed standards require high school students to learn the history of Louisiana and the United States from 1898 to 2010, including “the role of minority groups, including women, on the home front and in the military” throughout. along the world wars and the Vietnam war.

While concerns about critical race theory were a recurring theme in public commentary on standards at every grade level, other teachers and parents praised the proposed standards for emphasizing group perspectives. minority and indigenous.

“As a former high school social studies teacher, I’m so happy to see the emphasis on different points of view,” one comment read. “Looking at history through the eyes of minorities and under-represented people is so important. Allowing all students to see different perspectives can be life changing for the learner.

Parents and teachers were also concerned that the proposed standards were not specific enough.

For example, the current project says that kindergartens should be able to “identify the influence of various ethnic groups on communities in Louisiana.

But one suggested change was to specify French, English, African Americans, Choctaws, and others as the specific ethnic groups that jointly created Louisiana and its culture.

Officials will present a summary of public comments on the social studies proposal to the state’s board of education on Tuesday. BESE is expected to vote on a final version of the new social studies guidelines in January.

If the revised standards are approved, they will be implemented by the 2023-24 school year in Louisiana public schools.


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