Should Critical Race Theory be taught in schools? Is the scholarship sound? What are the potential consequences?
Mark Levin believes that teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) in American schools is a bad idea. He explains his reasons for opposing CRT in general—and The 1619 Project specifically—in his book American Marxism.
Continue reading to learn Levin’s argument.
Marxist Indoctrination in Schools
Levin argues that the first step of Marxist indoctrination in America involves the education system. These institutions are led by leftist professors who encourage students to engage in mass movements and rebellions against America.
Levin explains that many of the lessons currently taught in schools center around leftist ideologies and perspectives that are framed as moral truths, like Critical Theory and social movement theory. He believes that these ideologies are dangerous because they encourage discontentment with the American government, society, economy, and overall way of life. They teach students that American society and history are inherently unjust and evil and that social activism and rebellion are the only remedies.
(Shortform note: Contrary to Levin’s statement, experts explain that there’s no solid evidence that CRT is being taught in K-12 schools; however, educators are teaching some lessons inspired by CRT. Experts specifically note one lesson that was taught in a Greenwich, Connecticut middle school classroom that used a “white bias” survey as part of the lessons. Further, on one occasion, third graders in Cupertino, California were instructed to make an “identity map” listing their race, class, and gender.)
Let’s take a look at Critical Race Theory and why Levin believes it threatens American society.
Critical Race Theory
Should Critical Race Theory be taught in schools? Levin wades into this argument in his book. He argues that, because CRT is being taught in schools as fact rather than ideology, American youths are taught to believe that their nation is a structurally unjust and racist society.
Levin specifically references The 1619 Project curriculum, which has been adopted in numerous schools and reframes American history based on Critical Race Theory. The new curriculum positions American history, culture, values, and institutions as inherently unjust because the nation was founded alongside the institution of slavery. It teaches that precedents set during slavery have impacted almost all US institutions and have led to a massive inequality gap between Black (and other minority) Americans and white Americans. Levin claims that the curriculum is shameless Marxist indoctrination—it’s based on false scholarship by left-wing Marxists, and it’s a ploy to disguise CRT as history.
(Shortform note: Levin claims that The 1619 Project curriculum is being taught in numerous classrooms throughout America. However, experts report that the curriculum has only been implemented in roughly 4,500 classrooms across the entire country. For context, there are approximately 131,000 schools in America, containing numerous classrooms. So even if each school only has one classroom per grade, totaling 13 classrooms per school, that would translate to the curriculum being taught in 0.26% of American classrooms. The precise percentage is likely much smaller. Ultimately, the curriculum doesn’t seem to be as present and threatening as Levin suggests.)
Ultimately, Levin argues that teaching Critical Theory and its offshoots in schools is disastrous because (1) it gives youths an inaccurate and negative outlook on the world, and (2) it adds to the list of reasons why youths should rebel, eradicate society, and transform the country.
|Is The 1619 Project Credible Scholarship for Classrooms?|
Levin claims that The 1619 Project curriculum shouldn’t be taught in schools because it twists American history into a Marxist narrative and uses false scholarship to support its claims. While there’s one major point of contention within the work, the rest of the project’s scholarship and claims seem to be sound according to historians and economists who’ve fact-checked it.
The point of contention surrounds one facet of The 1619 Project’s ideology: Nikole Hannah-Jones, the creator and editor of the Project, claims in her opening essay that colonists fought the American Revolution in large part to preserve slavery. When slavery was abolished in Britain, the colonists sought independence to avoid the same laws being imposed on them.
However, historians explain that there isn’t credible historical evidence to substantiate Hannah-Jones’s claim—discussions about abolition in British colonies didn’t begin until 60 years after the American Revolution, so it wouldn’t make sense for the colonists to fear immediate abolition being imposed on them. Ultimately, historians feel that Hannah-Jones and the New York Times were pushing an agenda by including this unsubstantiated claim.
Levin also claims that The 1619 Project pushes a Marxist agenda. However, there’s no substantial evidence within the Project that suggests this. While many of the Project’s arguments reflect tenets of Critical Race Theory, CRT is not a Marxist theory. And the project itself doesn’t advocate for communism or reconstruction of society as Marxism does—rather, it calls for reparations to be made that will improve equity and equality in America.
Specifically, the Project suggests that the government (1) commit to strongly enforcing civil rights prohibitions against housing, employment, and educational discrimination, (2) make targeted investments in Black communities that have been historically segregated through government policies, and (3) make independent cash payments to descendants of enslaved people to close the wealth gap between Blacks and whites that resulted from slavery.