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Cherry Creek School District Families Debate Critical Race Theory

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) - The Cherry Creek School District is looking for a different approach to teaching history, but some families aren't on board with proposed changes. At the end of the school year, the CCSD announced their commitment to making lessons more racially and culturally inclusive. Dozens of people debated Critical Race Theory at their board meeting Wednesday evening.

critical race theory
(credit: CBS)

Critical Race Theory is an academic concept that's causing a stir in education systems nationwide. Critical Race Theory is an academic concept with the core idea that racism is a social construct that's embedded in social, legal and political systems, Education Week reports. Proponents of critical race theory say that its teachings show how race is implemented into history and that it does not teach that any race is inherently racist. Critics say the theory is divisive and discriminatory.

The Colorado Education Association says CRT is not taught in state public grade schools, but it's technically not a curriculum.

"It is a theoretical framework. There might be reasons to discuss that when we're talking about a course that is specific to race, but it is not a curriculum that we in Cherry Creek Schools have adopted as curriculum. That's not to say that there might not be pieces that educators utilize as they're designing learning experiences to provide different perspectives, just like they would pull from other resources to provide a gamut of perspectives to engage kids to be able to see things from different angles," said a member of the CCSD.

cherry creek school district critical race theory
(credit: CBS)

About 100 people signed up to voice their opinions to the CCSD board Wednesday night.

Anne Fiala, a CCSD alum, says she's learned more about Black history over the past year than she did in school.

"Thinking about my experience in the public school education system, I missed out a lot on the truth of the history. I feel like as an adult, I've learned a lot about what really happened with the foundation of America," said Fiala. "It's clear that there's issues in this country that need to be addressed, and I think education system is a great way to start."

Molly Lamont, a member of the Social Studies Curriculum Review Committee, thinks the district should take a deeper look at the proposed changes.

"I'm worried about the potential psychological impact on on children. We haven't vetted it enough. I have a lot of questions," said Lamont.

While many speakers believe culturally responsive instruction is good for all students, others at the meeting prefer the district leave this part of history in the past.

"We can honor and teach our history without adding the negative emotional opinions or feelings that will further divide our students under the guise of diversity and inclusion. All we're doing is further dividing our students with shame," said one woman.

Video of the meeting can be viewed here:

Twenty-five states have taken steps to limit the teaching of critical race theory or to restrict how teachers can discuss racism and sexism, according to a recent analysis by Education Week.

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