critical race theory

critical race theory

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Freedom of speech is under attack in public schools, U.S. House panel told

Students and teachers told U.S. House members during a Thursday hearing that their right to talk about race and LGBTQ+ issues in public schools is being silenced due to an onslaught of new state laws as well as pressure on school boards from right-wing advocates. “To be crystal clear, this is about disrupting and destroying public education,” James Whitfield, a former principal in Texas and one of the witnesses, told lawmakers.

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Education Top Story

Present day controversies are front and center at legislative hearing on the future of public education

Committee chair challenges the relevance of state's landmark Leandro school funding case The state’s decades-old school funding case, Leandro, could become “moot," depending on decisions by a House select committee charged with “reinventing” North Carolina’s public education system, State Rep. John Torbett, a Gaston County Republican and chairman of the committee, told Policy Watch on Monday.

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Education News Top Story

GOP’s “stealth slate” of candidates seeks to shift school board balance of power in one of NC’s most Democratic counties

On paper, electing a slate of registered Republicans to the Durham County school board appears to be a near mathematical impossibility.  In this county, Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 5 to 1. In partisan races, such as the Board of Commissioners, GOP candidates are rarely successful.  

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Congress Education News Top Story

More than 1,500 books have been banned in public schools, and a U.S. House panel asks why

WASHINGTON — A U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee panel on Thursday examined why thousands of books, predominantly written by marginalized authors, have been banned from public schools, and the impact of those actions on students and teachers. “Most books being targeted for censorship are books that introduce ideas about diversity or our common humanity, books that teach children to recognize and respect humanity in one another,” said the chair of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Rep. Jamie Raskin.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

In combating racism, truth telling remains the best and most effective tool

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” “If we do not learn history, we are condemned to repeat it.” Americans often turn to these two aphorisms in discussions of public policy and usually for good reason. Both emphasize the value of openly and honestly confronting the truth – wherever it may lead.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Ketanji Brown Jackson defends her record under grilling from U.S. Senate Republicans

WASHINGTON – Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday sharpened their criticisms of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, probing her work as a public defender on behalf of terrorism suspects, the judicial sentences she has handed down for child pornography offenses and her views of critical race theory.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

In our schools: ‘Yes’ to books, science, diversity…and discomfort

Public school book banning is back in the news. Yes, I know; it’s an amazing development in an era in which every imaginable form of explicit violence, sex, and hate speech resides just seconds away at our children’s fingertips. Research indicates that 95% of American teens have ready access to a smartphone and that more than 90 percent of kids play video games...

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Education News Top Story

Book banning battles hit North Carolina schools

Conservatives target works dealing with race and LGBTQ themes Parents of sixth graders in a gifted language-arts class at Marvin Ridge Middle School received an email from their children’s teacher last month warning them that a book selected for the class’s unit on African American literature would at times be “uncomfortable.”

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Editorial Cartoon Top Story

Year in review: Our top 10 editorial cartoons of 2021

Editor's note: For going on two decades now, NC Policy Watch has been fortunate enough to be able to feature the expertly crafted, frequently hilarious, sometimes disturbing, and always thought-provoking commentaries of one of the nation's top editorial cartoonists, John Cole. While it would be worth your time to look through all of John's contributions to Policy Watch from the past, we're happy to share 10 of the best entries from 2021 below.

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Education Top Story

Year in review: Critical Race Theory, mask mandates and Leandro funding made for a tumultuous 2021 in education

Critical Race Theory and face mask mandates dominated the state’s education headlines in 2021, even as students and teachers struggled to recover from a year of remote learning that saw standardized test scores fall to new lows.  Racial and economic inequities in education, exposed by the pandemic, were quickly shoved to the background by a loud minority of irate parents who complained...

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Original Commentary Top Story

Reading banned books: An important remedy for America’s backsliding democracy

We’ve been buried by a blizzard of news lately. So much has happened ­­­­— special anti-mandate legislative session, Supreme Court poised to reverse Roe v. Wade, omicron variant popping up across the United States — it’s difficult to choose just one target in the shooting gallery of opinion. But let’s step back for a moment from the edge of the frothing torrent of current events and take a wider view. There is so much at stake. Everything that makes us.

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Radio Interviews

NC Social Studies teacher Rodney Pierce on the need to teach a broad, full history of America


Pierce is a social studies teacher at Red Oak Middle School in Battleboro, North Carolina and was social studies teacher of the year in 2019.

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Education Top Story

Nikole Hannah-Jones: “Dark and scary times” for public education

Fresh off the controversy at UNC, the Howard journalism professor pulls few punches in talk to North Carolina schools group After four years of President Donald Trump, a global pandemic and a culture war fueled by the false narrative that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is taught in public schools, educators and their progressive allies are exhausted and understandably so, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones told attendees of the 2021 Color of Education Virtual Summit.

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Education News Top Story

Johnston County school board acquiesces to demands of Board of Commissioners

Conservative push to control how history is taught results in new policy directive Satisfied with a policy revision banning Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Johnston County Public Schools, County Commissioners on Monday unanimously agreed to release $7.9 million in new school funding commissioners withheld over the summer because the district had no such prohibition in place.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Hey, GOP: There’s a museum over in Montgomery y’all really ought to see

National Memorial for Peace and Justice documents our nation's troubled racial history MONTGOMERY, AL. — You walk out of the fierce summer sun into a shadowy forest of rectangular steel columns, row upon row of them, six or seven feet tall, covered in rust the color of dried blood. It takes a minute to adjust to the dim light.

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Education News Top Story

Republicans renew effort to limit what can be taught in public school classrooms

Lt. Gov. Robinson reports on complaints to oversight task force, while Senate committee approves controversial legislation White shaming, "sexualization" of children and Critical Race Theory are among six overarching themes Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson says emerged during his recently completed examination of North Carolina schools.

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