critical race theory in k-12 education
Critical race theory (CRT) in education has been used to expose and analyze racism in K-12 schooling and higher education. However, the theory has been underutilized as an inventory lens applied to school leadership practice. Our paper takes on this inquiry by highlighting the work done by an administrative leadership team at a majority racially diverse middle school in the Mountain western region of the U.S. Through an examination of the practice of racism as whiteness as property through teacher expectations, classroom instruction and teacher-student and parent interactions and by implementing changes in areas of student discipline, and color-blind teacher perceptions, the leadership team developed racial equity pathways which served as an important implementation of CRT leadership.
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
Ledesma, M.C. & Calderon, D. (2015). Critical race theory in education: A review of past literature and a look to the future. Qualitative Inquiry, 21(3), 206-222.
As with the call for social justice activism in K-12, the same call exists for institutions of higher education. Faculty, staff, administrators, students, all have a responsibility to take steps to expose and eradicate racism on college campuses. Learning should be able to happen for all students regardless of race, gender, sexuality, economics, ability, etc. This learning should occur in an environment without fear, frustration, and pain. Higher education educators and administrators can use the tools provided by CRT to provide a climate that is conducive to learning.
While critical race theory is a framework employed by activists and scholars within and outside the confines of education, there are limited resources for leadership practitioners that provide insight into critical race theory and the possibilities of implementing a critical race praxis approach to leadership. With a continued top-down approach to educational policy and practice, it is imperative that educational leaders understand how critical race theory and praxis can assist them in utilizing their agency and roles as leaders to identify and challenge institutional and systemic racism and other forms/manifestations of oppression (Stovall, 2004). In the tradition of critical race theory, we are charged with the task of operationalizing theory into practice in the struggle for, and commitment to, social justice. Though educational leaders and leadership programs have been all but absent in this process, given their influence and power, educational leaders need to be engaged in this endeavor.
A volume in the series: Educational Leadership for Social Justice. Editor(s): Jeffrey S. Brooks, RMIT University. Denise E. Armstrong, Brock University. Ira Bogotch, Florida Atlantic University. Sandra Harris, Lamar University. Whitney Sherman Newcomb, Virginia Commonwealth University. George Theoharis, Syracuse University.
With this mission, the annual Critical Race Studies in Education (CRSEA) conference brings together scholars, activists, educators, students and community members who use critical race studies as a tool to frame, examine, document, understand and transform racial inequalities in education and in the broader society.”
“The Critical Race Studies in Education Association (CRSEA) is an interdisciplinary consortium of experts who recognize global implications of race and education for minoritized people. Through scholarship, we identify and expose inequities for the ultimate eradication of white supremacy. As a community, we are committed to (1) countering and combating systemic and structural racism with scholarship and praxis, (2) recognizing the multiple locations of oppression and the myriad manifestations and effects of their intersections and (3) co-constructing liberating knowledge that facilitates collective agency to transform schools and communities.
Harris, J. C., & Patton, L. D. (2019). Un/doing intersectionality through higher education research. The Journal of Higher Education,90(3), 347–373. https://doi.org/10.1080/00221546.2018.1536936.
Kohli, R., & Solórzano, D. (2012). Teachers, please learn our names!: racial microagressions and the K-12 classroom. Race, Ethnicity and Education,15(4), 441–462. https://doi.org/10.1080/13613324.2012.674026.