NEW YORK, NY — To what extent, if at all, are critical race theory (CRT) and gender ideology being taught or promoted in America’s schools? And what are the effects on students? Many on the right allege that CRT-related concepts such as systemic racism and white privilege are contextualizing curricula in public schools around the country to inappropriate degrees. But with little data available, and no agreement about what constitutes the teaching of Critical Social Justice (CSJ)—a term that denotes the compounding ideas of CRT and gender ideology—the answer has remained open to political interpretation up to this point.
Results from a representative survey of more than 1,500 Americans aged 18 to 20, first previewed in the City Journal article “Yes, Critical Race Theory Is Being Taught in Schools,” finds CSJ is widespread in American schools. Ninety-three percent of respondents in the original survey conducted by the Manhattan Institute said they heard about at least one of eight CSJ concepts from a teacher or other adult at school; 90% heard about at least one CRT concept; and 74% heard about at least one radical gender concept.
In a new report for the Manhattan Institute, Paulson Policy Analyst Zach Goldberg and adjunct fellow Eric Kaufmann unpack the findings of their Deltapoll survey and conclude the uncritical promotion of left-wing racial ideology is having a measurable impact on students. In a majority of cases, CSJ concepts are presented as indisputable fact and the only acceptable approach to race, gender, and sexuality. This disposition has influenced students’ political affiliation and policy preferences with many shifting to the left, even if they have Republican parents and live in solidly Republican counties. And it has increased fear and discomfort among students sharing viewpoints in the classroom.
While school choice remains an important tool for increasing opportunity and awareness, the authors believe it is only part of the solution for addressing CSJ indoctrination. They argue the widespread exposure to CSJ instruction in all types of schooling—93% reported among private and public-school students and 86% among those who were homeschooled or went to parochial school—necessitates the reform of curricular content. Thus, the authors recommend lawmakers redirect their political energy and capital from focusing on school choice alone to reforming public education, and encourage state governments and school administrators to provide a fair, well-rounded education to America’s youth.