Last week, Republicans in the Wisconsin state legislature introduced legislation designed to ban the teaching of critical race theory in K–12 and UW system schools. This appears to be the latest conservative bugaboo in the new culture wars of the twenty-first century.
But we wanted to have an honest discussion: what is critical race theory? Is it really a dangerous set of “woke philosophies,” as its critics would have us believe?
Today, guest host Karma Chávez spends the hour with Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, a longtime educator and early proponent of critical race theory in the classroom. They talk about what CRT is and isn’t—and why the GOP’s strategy may backfire and ultimately encourage a new generation of students to bring critical inquiry to their study of history.
Gloria Ladson-Billings is the former Kellner Family Distinguished Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and faculty affiliate emeritus in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children (Jossey-Bass, 1994), Crossing Over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms (Jossey-Bass, 2001), and many journal articles and book chapters, including “Just what is critical race theory and what’s it doing in a nice field like education?” (1998).