GBAPS & Critical Race Theory

Does GBAPS teach Critical Race Theory?

The simple answer is no. Critical Race Theory (CRT) is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as:

“critical race theory (CRT)", intellectual movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of colour. Critical race theorists hold that the law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans.”

What are school districts required by Wisconsin state law to teach regarding concepts of race and diversity?

State law requires that all Wisconsin school districts teach about race at all grade levels. 

-Wis. Stat. § 118.01(2)(c)8 mandates that school districts provide an instructional program to give pupils “at all grade levels, an understanding of human relations, particularly with regard to American Indians, Black Americans, and Hispanics.” 

-Wis. Stat. § 121.02(1)(L)4 requires that school districts, “as part of the social studies curriculum, include instruction in the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of the federally recognized American Indian tribes and bands located in this state at least twice in the elementary grades and at least once in the high school grades.”

-Wis. Stat. § 121.02(1)(h) requires each school board to “provide adequate instructional materials, texts and library services which reflects the cultural diversity and pluralistic nature of American society.”

-Wis. Stat. § 118.01(2)(c)7 requires the school district to provide an instructional program that will give students “an appreciation and understanding of different value systems and cultures.” In other words, teachers must present multiple perspectives on American history and culture and encourage students to “appreciate and understand” diverse value systems.

What is being referred to when the acronym CLRT is being used by District administrators, staff or board members?

CLRT is an acronym used in many K-12 systems for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching. Both Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Wis. Stat. § 118.13 mandate that schools prevent discrimination against students in their access to educational opportunity based on race. 

Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching (CLRT) is the method and practice of teaching that recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning. One way in which a teacher may include CLRT in their classroom is to include literature by diverse authors, from other cultures, or with diverse characters. Including these books, does not take away from the value of “traditional books,” but rather creates a richer learning experience that validates all students’ identities. 

CLRT has several benefits:

-Strengthens students’ sense of identity 

-Promotes equity and inclusivity in the classroom

-Engages students in the subject matter

-Supports critical thinking

Is GBAPS’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) work with Hanover Research a first step toward teaching Critical Race Theory in the classroom?

No. GBAPS’s EDI work with Hanover Research is about creating a three-year strategic plan regarding equity, with various stakeholders, and includes metrics for accountability. Working with Hanover Research, GBAPS is working to understand the root causes behind the perpetual opportunity gaps between white and non-white students, and students with disabilities and students without disabilities. Using the data, the District will develop a plan to ensure our schools are welcoming and create a sense of belonging for each and every child. The EDI effort is about “lifting all boats,” and not about making changes that result in reducing opportunities for one group of children so we can improve opportunities for others. 

Are parents/guardians able to review curriculum taught in their child’s classroom?

Yes, parents/guardians have the right to make a public records request to examine curriculum. Please review Board of Education policy

Whom can I contact if I have concerns regarding the curriculum taught in my child’s classroom?

We ask that you follow the District’s protocol for seeking information and addressing concerns by contacting staff in this order:

1. Classroom teacher
2. School principal
3. Superintendent
4. School Board

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