UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Actions by activists and politicians against the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) in schools have been front-and-center in the national news headlines for over a year. However, according to Penn State College of Education researchers, the majority of the American public lacks a firm understanding of what CRT really is. The team seeks to counter anti-CRT arguments with evidence-based research as well as educate fellow researchers on the most effective tactics for engaging in debate over CRT and translating research findings into practice and policy.
According to Francesca López, Waterbury Chair in Equity Pedagogy and professor of education (second language education), critical race theory is the idea that “race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.”
López is the lead author on a policy brief, “Understanding the Attacks on Critical Race Theory,” that was published by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), which is based at the University of Colorado-Boulder and focuses on producing and disseminating peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Lopez’s co-authors on the brief include College of Education faculty members Royel Johnson, assi
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