In recent months, a number of Republican-controlled states have moved to ban critical race theory – which holds that racism is structural and embedded in U.S. institutions – from being taught in classrooms.

Nicholas Ensley Mitchell, a professor of curriculum studies, predicts that such legislation will lead teachers to avoid topics that they fear could get them into trouble. Indeed there is evidence that this might already be happening with reports that some educators are calling it quits before the next school year rather than run the risk of teaching as they see fit and running afoul of the law.

Whatever one’s position is on these new laws, they are bound to affect local education in unprecedented ways – creating further uncertainty on the heels of a school year disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Jamaal Abdul-Alim

Education Editor

People rally against ‘critical race theory’ at the Loudoun County Government Center in Leesburg, Va. on June 12, 2021. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Bans on critical race theory could have a chilling effect on how educators teach about racism

Nicholas Ensley Mitchell, University of Kansas

New laws that take aim at critical race theory could pose serious dilemmas for teachers when it comes to describing America's past, a curriculum specialist says.

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  • 63% of workers who file an EEOC discrimination complaint lose their jobs

    Donald T. Tomaskovic-Devey, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Carly McCann, University of Massachusetts Amherst; J.D. Swerzenski, University of Massachusetts Amherst

    Workers who filed complaints faced retaliation and rarely got a favorable result from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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