What the Critical Race Theory Debate Could Mean for STEM Education


Illustration by M. Scott Byers


Written by: Reagan Flowers, Ph.D.

You have probably seen the term critical race theory (CRT) a lot lately. Unfortunately, the issue has become highly divisive and politicized. However, we need to focus on proposed changes’ impact on today’s students, future careers, and our communities.

The Debate Around Critical Race Theory

What is critical race theory, and why has it become a hot topic? Critical race theory has studied systemic racism and discrimination from a legal and sociological perspective for more than four decades. Nevertheless, some lawmakers are looking to ban CRT from education and have already succeeded in some states. For example, in Texas, bills aim to ban CRT and prevent teachers from discussing specific past and current events.

CRT looks at the policies, procedures, and laws that have caused marginalization and discrimination and those that continue to do so. CRT has helped improve K-12 education include efforts to acknowledge oppression in history courses, addressing bias against minority students, and increasing educational opportunities for underserved students. As you can see, this is directly in line with C-STEM’s mission.

Those who are looking to eliminate CRT cite that it is divisive. Some proposed bills aim to eliminate the discussion of discrimination and programs that center on diversity and inclusion.

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