Statement Regarding Teaching Critical Race Theory
The Utah Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) adds its voice to the many other Utah organizations, educators, parents, and communities who are concerned and disappointed by the resolution approved by the House and Senate regarding Critical Race Theory (CRT). As reflected in our mission statement, Utah NAME is founded on principles that promote and support diversity, inclusion and equity in education and beyond. We acknowledge educators as the professionals they are, and value the work they do to give every student what they need to succeed. We are dismayed that the term Critical Race Theory (CRT) has become a catch-all to undermine antiracism and other efforts to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in Utah schools.
There are uninformed groups spreading misinformation about what educational equity actually means. Equity in education means giving every student the necessary resources, support and opportunities to be successful in school. Equity means making sure all students feel safe and validated at school for exactly who they are so they can focus on their learning rather than their emotional or physical safety. Equity means making learning relevant for students–allowing them to see reflections of themselves and their identities in their teachers and in the curriculum. Equity means making sure the curriculum is taught in a way that is comprehensible and accessible to students with disabilities, English learners and non-traditional learners. Equity means examining data to ensure that school discipline policies don’t disproportionately impact specific groups like students of color or students with disabilities.
In December of 2020 former Governor Herbert and other leaders signed the Utah Compact on Racial Equity and Inclusion. This document of racial justice principles defines racism as “a system of ideas, beliefs, practices, structures, and policies that give some people greater opportunity to be fully human and live a happier and healthier life than others.” The document goes on to affirm that, “Unraveling centuries of internalized and systemic racism requires bold anti-racist actions and policies right now.” Contrary to the bold leadership of Governor Herbert just a few short months ago, those who are currently supporting the Utah House Resolution on Critical Race Theory (H.R. 901) want to take our schools backwards with their strong recommendations that no “curriculum, training or training material” address basic concepts about race and racism.
By demonizing a non-existent CRT “bogeyman” in Utah schools, H.R. 901 creates roadblocks for schools and educators seeking to share basic facts about race and to speak to the truths of United States history. Our schools need to be places that promote safety, validation, trust and truth. This cannot happen when our legislators and school boards make fear-based, uninformed resolutions based on ignorance and misinformation. Utah NAME stands with the families and educators calling for equitable and inclusive schools. We encourage lawmakers to oppose any legislation that undermines the crucial work of educational equity in Utah Schools.
National Association for Multicultural Education, Utah Chapter