Public Schooling, Critical Race Theory, Political Polarization
Over the past year, the teaching of “critical race theory” in public schools has become a hot-button political issue, dividing parents, teachers, and school board officials alike, sparking a national conversation about who should determine the content of public-school curriculum, and leading to the introduction of legislation that would limit what could be taught in Kentucky classrooms . The Cooperative for the Humanities and Social Sciences seeks to bring together scholars and community members to discuss critical social problems, in this case the influence of political polarization on public school curriculum. We will discuss what exactly critical race theory is, seek to understand why legislation affecting school curriculum is being introduced in Kentucky, and explore what its impact might be. Our panelists include: Nikki Brown, UK Professor of History and African American and Africana Studies; Arnold Farr, UK Professor of Philosophy and Fayette-Urban County Council-at-Large Candidate; Tyler Murphy, Chair of the Fayette County Board of Education and a National Board-Certified Social Studies Teacher at Boyle County High School; Pragya Upreti, a Senior at Lafayette High School and the research lead for the Kentucky Student Voice Team, an independent youth-led organization focusing on education research, policy, and advocacy; Steve Voss, UK Professor of Political Science; and Lucy Waterbury, a Fayette County Public School Parent, School Based Decision Making Council Parent Representative, PTSA Leader, and co-founder of Save Our Schools Kentucky.