Officials nationwide have raced to enact new laws and introduce new policies meant to shape how students discuss the nation’s past — and its present. Many of these efforts have attempted to ban critical race theory, an academic framework that examines how policies and the law perpetuate systemic racism.
In some states, lawmakers have tried to restrict antiracism training or the teaching of what they call “divisive concepts.” But on the opposite end, other states are adding ethnic studies courses or incorporating more about people of color into their learning standards.
The map you see here depicts the depth and breadth of these ongoing efforts to both restrict and expand how a core aspect of American life is taught in our classrooms. So far, at least 36 states have adopted or introduced laws or policies that restrict teaching about race and racism. With 2022 state legislative sessions underway, new legislation is in the pipeline.
Our map also documents actions taken by state boards of education and executive branches of state governments. In states that haven’t taken such concrete steps, we have spotlighted comments from public officials and other developments to give readers a sense of how the debate is playing out.
The impact of these discussions on classrooms is being felt. This map provides a snapshot of this turning point in American history and education. We’ve also created a timeline of key events and documents that trace the critical race theory backlash from its beginnings during the administration of President Donald Trump.
Chalkbeat is committed to continued coverage of these actions. If you have information about bills, policies, or anything else relevant from your state or hometown, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporting by Cathryn Stout and graphics by Thomas Wilburn.