By: Taifha Natalee Alexander and Kyle Reinhard
As the year 2022 comes to a close, newly released data from the CRT Forward Tracking Project reveals new anti-CRT activities taking place across the country. Some trends among the newly identified activity have demonstrated that: (1) Eight states have introduced a total of 18 new anti-CRT measures; (2) Government officials in South Carolina are responsible for introducing 33% of the newly identified anti-CRT measures, including a Berkeley County School District measure introduced by newly-elected anti-CRT school board officials; (3) Nearly half of all newly identified anti-CRT measures have been adopted; and (4) newly introduced anti-CRT measures in California suggest that California's percentage of adopted measures outpaces the percentage of adopted measures in certain red states. Additionally, separate from the newly released Tracking Project data, CRT Forward researchers have incorporated a new progress status, revoked or overturned, to the CRT Forward Tracking Project data set.
(1) CRT Forward researchers have identified 18 newly introduced anti-CRT measures across eight states.
Government officials in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, South Carolina and Texas have introduced at least 18 anti-CRT measures since November 2022. Of the newly identified 18 anti-CRT measures, more than half were introduced in South Carolina and Missouri. South Carolina government officials introduced a total of six (6) anti-CRT measures while state representatives in Missouri introduced four (4) anti-CRT measures. Government officials in California and Texas each introduced two new anti-CRT measures while Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado and Georgia government officials introduced one new anti-CRT measure in each of those states. Of the newly identified anti-CRT measures, 10 have been introduced at the state level and eight (8) have been introduced at the local school board level.
(2) Newly identified South Carolina anti-CRT measures makeup 33% of all newly identified measures.
Of the 18 newly identified introduced anti-CRT measures, six (6) were introduced in South Carolina. Of the six (6) South Carolina anti-CRT measures, four (4) are pre-filed bills which were introduced in the legislature and, as of December 19, 2022, are currently pending. The introduced and pending anti-CRT South Carolina measures are House Bill 75, House Bill 165, Senate Bill 42 and Senate Bill 158.
The remaining anti-CRT activity in South Carolina is limited to the local school board level, one in Beaufort County School District and the other in Berkeley County School District. In Beaufort County School District, school board officials approved Regulation IS - 38.1, a policy that outlines the process for questioning or challenging school library materials. Regulation IS - 38.1 also makes reference to a Beaufort County School District form that allows parents or legal guardians to restrict their students from being assigned, loaned, or checking out specific library materials without prior parental approval.
In Berkeley County School District, portions of the November 15, 2022 school board meeting went viral.1 During that meeting, newly elected anti-CRT candidates, endorsed by anti-CRT groups, voted to fire the District's first Black superintendent, terminate the District's lawyer, and ban Critical Race Theory.2 More specifically, in a 6-2 vote, the board permanently disallowed the teaching of Critical Race Theory in any form in Berkeley County School District.
(3) Eight of all 18 newly identified measures have been adopted.
In addition to South Carolina's Beaufort and Berkeley County School District anti-CRT measures, six (6) more anti-CRT measures have been adopted. In Colorado, the District 49 School Board officials passed a policy to prohibit principles of Critical Race Theory in instruction. In Arkansas, the Bentonville County School District issued a statement outlining that neither Critical Race Theory nor the Pulitzer Prize 1619 Project are taught in schools.3 In Georgia, the Cobb County School District enacted Board Policy JRB-R. The policy allows parents and legal guardians with the opportunity to surveil their students' instructional resources as well as object to instructional resources that the parent or legal guardian considers to be "divisive," or, more accurately, operate as distorted descriptions of systemic racism and efforts to dismantle it. In Texas, the State Board of Education voted to pause social studies standards through 2025 and the Frisco Independent School District adopted a policy to ban certain books and texts. In California, the Temecula County School Board passed a resolution prohibiting the teaching of Critical Race Theory.
(4) Anti-CRT activity in California has been adopted at a 63% rate which is higher than the anti-CRT adopted rates in Florida, South Carolina, and Missouri.
As of December 22, 2022, there are at least 11 anti-CRT measures in California which have all been introduced at the local school board level. Of California's 11 introduced anti-CRT measures, seven (7), or 63%, have been adopted. In comparison to California certain traditionally conservative states, namely Florida, South Carolina, and Missouri all have lower rates of anti-CRT adopted activity. Florida's anti-CRT adoption rate is 17 (adopted) out of 29 (introduced), or 58%. South Carolina's anti-CRT adoption rate is 9 (adopted) out of 23 (introduced), or 39%. And Missouri's anti-CRT adoption rate is 8 (adopted) out of 40 (introduced), or 20%.
(5) The newly incorporated "revoked or overturned" progress status provides insight into the status of challenged anti-CRT measures.
This month, the CRT Forward Tracking Team incorporated a new progress status to provide additional insight into the status of challenged anti-CRT measures, like Arizona's Senate Bill 2898 (2021) which was declared unconstitutional, in part, by a Maricopa Superior Court judge. As more anti-CRT measures are challenged as unconstitutional, the CRT Forward Tracking Project dataset will update adopted measures that have since been found unconstitutional as "revoked or overturned."
1 NBC News Tiktok of Berkeley County School District Meeting. https://www.tiktok.com/@nbcnews/video/7167489249627950382?_r=1&_t=8Y2aK2Ybcr8&is_from_webapp=v1&item_id=7167489249627950382