89th Annual Meeting

In Support of Critical Race Theory in Public K-12 Education

  • WHEREAS, Critical Race Theory ("CRT") is the practice of interrogating the role of race and racism in society, in which racism can be seen across systemic, institutional and interpersonal levels operating over the course of time and across generations; and

    WHEREAS, historical racism and racist systems have caused de jure and de facto discrimination against people of color and have created racial inequities in all facets of life in the United States, and these racial inequities continue to the present day; and

    WHEREAS, the basic tenets of CRT are as follows:
    1. Recognition that race is not biologically real, but it is socially constructed and socially significant as a product of social thought not connected to biological reality;
    2. Acknowledgement that racism is a normal feature of society and is embedded within systems and institutions, like the legal system, that replicate racial inequality, meaning that racist incidents are not aberrations but instead manifestations of structural and systemic racism;
    3. Rejection of popular understandings about racism, including claims of meritocracy, colorblindness, and arguments that confine racism to a few bad apples, in recognition that the systemic nature of racism, which is codified in law, embedded in structures, and woven into public policy, bears primary responsibility for reproducing racial inequality;
    4. Recognition of the relevance of people's everyday lives to scholarship, embracing the lived experiences of people of color, including those preserved through storytelling, and rejecting deficit-informed research that excludes the epistemologies of people of color; and
    WHEREAS, CRT transcends a Black/white racial binary and recognizes that racism has impacted the experiences of various people of color, including Latinx, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and other racial groups; and

    WHEREAS, this evolving, malleable practice critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers and recognizes that race intersects with other identities, including sexuality and gender identity; and

    WHEREAS, CRT recognizes that racism is not a bygone relic of the past, but instead acknowledges that the legacy of slavery, segregation, and the imposition of second-class citizenship on people of color continue to permeate the social fabric of this nation; and

    WHEREAS, it can be used to theorize, examine, and challenge the ways which race and racism implicitly and explicitly impact social structures, practices, and discourses; and

    WHEREAS, CRT notes that learning and scholarship that ignores race is not demonstrating "neutrality" but adherence to the existing racial hierarchy, challenging white privilege and exposing deficit-informed research that ignores, and often omits, the scholarship of people of color; and

    WHEREAS, Black, Indigenous, & People of Color (BIPOC) have experienced a gap in achievement compared to their White counterparts, and these students need an equitable allocation of resources to fill in the gaps; and

    WHEREAS, the examination of racial inequities and education gaps between white students and students of color must consider the following factors:
    1. the predominance of curriculum that excludes the history and lived experiences of Americans of color and imposes a dominant white narrative of history;
    2. deficit-oriented instruction that characterizes students of color as in need of remediation;
    3. narrow assessments, the results of which are used to confirm narratives about the ineducability of children of color;
    4. school discipline policies that disproportionately impact students of color and compromise their educational outcomes (such as dress code policies prohibiting natural Black hairstyles);
    5. school funding inequities, including the persistent underfunding of property-poor districts, many of which are composed primarily of children of color; and
    6. the persistence of racially segregated education.
    WHEREAS, mayors understand that policies focused on equity can reduce gaps within public institutions, including public-school systems; and

    WHEREAS, policymakers and educators have the opportunity to identify solutions and implement evidence-based programs that advance academic achievement and provide culturally-aware resources for students of color for post-secondary and career readiness,

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the nation's mayors support the implementation of CRT in the public education curriculum to help engage our youth in programming that reflects an accurate, complete account of BIPOC history; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors supports access to equitable programs that reflect history, decrease achievement gaps, and better ensure that BIPOC students receive resources to ensure their success upon the completion of their primary education.
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