The CRT Forward Tracking Project identifies, follows, and analyzes local, state, and federal measures that attempt to suppress truth-telling about systemic racism through a campaign against Critical Race Theory (CRT), diversity, equity, inclusion, antiracism, and antisexism. These anti-CRT measures, in the form of proposed and enacted legislation, regulations, attorney general letters, and other governmental instruments seek to restrict the ability to speak truthfully about racism and sexism in multiple contexts, like in K-12 education, private businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and higher education.
In the Summer of 2021, with support from the UCLA School of Law and Lumina Foundation, the UCLA School of Law Critical Race Studies (CRS) Program launched the CRT Forward Tracking Project. Since August 2021, the CRT Forward Tracking Project Team of faculty, staff, research librarians, and law school and undergraduate research assistants have gathered, tracked, and analyzed anti-CRT measures at the local, state, and federal levels of government. As of the initial launch, the Tracking Project is the only existing database that tracks and analyzes anti-CRT measures at all levels of government. Our focus is specifically on formally proposed or actually enacted official government policies, not advocacy by non-governmental actors or comments to the media by government officials.
The Project gathers information from multiple sources. To identify anti-CRT measures, we primarily use two complementary approaches facilitated through legal information databases, Lexis and Westlaw. First, we search Lexis databases of state and federal legislation to identify anti-CRT bills. As of our initial March 2022 launch, the most recent search was conducted on March 15, 2022. We also perform progress updates on anti-CRT measures through the Lexis database.
Second, we search over 4,000 U.S. newspapers and other media for coverage of anti-CRT measures. As of our initial launch, through this process, we have screened over 12,000 media articles, published between September 1, 2020 and November 2, 2021. These media searches enable us to identify measures that are not compiled in any existing, national database. This includes measures at the local level, including school districts. It also includes many forms of non-legislative measures at all levels of government. Because we rely on media coverage to identify these types of measures where no comprehensive national database exists, there may be instances of anti-CRT measures that we cannot detect.
Each media search result is reviewed individually to confirm whether it involves anti-CRT measures. If anti-CRT measures are confirmed, further legal research is conducted to identify the underlying actions from an official source, such as school board meeting minutes or a state legislature’s website. Researchers periodically review each identified anti-CRT measure for progress updates to ensure up-to-date information on all anti-CRT measures in the database. Researchers are alerted to any updates in the state legislative measure through a Lexis database feature. For non-state legislative measures, the ongoing media screening reveals updates. The team codes each action for the targeted institutions, the regulated conduct, like teaching and training, and the targeted content, like training or teaching, among other attributes as listed below. The database is updated on a monthly basis to account for new anti-CRT measures or updates to items already in the database.
As of our initial launch, the CRT Forward Tracking Project includes 370 total instances of anti-CRT measures across 48 states. As detailed further below, each anti-CRT measure has been analyzed to determine:
- The entities the measure is targeting;
- The types of conduct being regulated;
- The specific features of the conduct being targeted; and
- Enforcement mechanisms used to regulate the conduct.
Additionally, for each anti-CRT measure, the database includes links to the official full text of the measure, such as to a statute or legislative record, as well as any publicly accessible source for updates in its status.
Citation for media outlets, policy briefs and online resources: CRT Forward Tracking Project, www.crtforward.law.ucla.edu
Citation for academic publications and research reports: Taifha Natalee Alexander, LaToya Baldwin Clark, Isabel Flores-Ganley, Cheryl Harris, Jasleen Kohli, Lynn McLelland, Paton Moody, Nicole Powell, Milan Smith, and Noah Zatz. CRT Forward Tracking Project [date database was accessed]. UCLA School of Law Critical Race Studies Program, www.crtforward.law.ucla.edu.
The data users can explore on the website as well as definitions for each of the data terms are as follows:
Date: When the measure was introduced
Date Adopted: When the proposed anti-CRT measure was approved and took effect
Level of Government: Federal, state, school district, or city or county government
State or Federal: Where the anti-CRT measure was introduced. This includes the state in which the local measure occurs.
Bill Number: The official number assigned to the proposed or enacted state law, where relevant
Body Name: Name of government official or entity taking the action
Authority Type: Instrument being used to advance the anti-CRT measure
- Executive Directive: A binding directive under the executive’s control
- Legislation: A state legislature’s proposed or enacted law or local ordinances and policies established by school boards
- Attorney General Letter: Letter from either a state attorney general or governor issuing an official legal opinion on the anti-CRT measure
- Regulation: A rule issued by an administrative agency such as a state education department or school board.
- Resolution: An official position passed by a legislative body, but without the force of law like legislation
- Statement: An official position statement on the anti-CRT measure from an executive official
- Policy: Newly introduced anti-CRT plan or revision to a former diversity plan
Progress: Status of the anti-CRT measure
- Pending: The anti-CRT measure has been proposed and is under consideration.
- Adopted: The anti-CRT measure is adopted and now in effect.
- Withdrawn/expired: The anti-CRT measure was proposed but is no longer under consideration.
- Introduced and failed: The measure was defeated by vote or veto.
Target Institution: The type of entity the measure is attempting to regulate
- Higher education
- State or federal agencies
- Government contractors
- Private businesses or on-profits
Conduct Prohibited: Acts the anti-CRT measure addresses
- Classroom teaching: Instruction in the classroom
- Curricular content: Collection of lessons, facts, theories, assessments, and concepts taught in school
- Policy: newly introduced anti-CRT plan or a revision or complete revocation of former diversity plan
- Trainings: staff or student trainings
Conduct Required: Acts the anti-CRT measure demands or forbids
- Curricular surveillance: publishing the classroom teaching and curricular content
- Forbidden books: restricting access to certain books
- Student education opt-out: allows parents to restrict their student from certain education
Content Trigger: Features of the regulated conduct that trigger anti-CRT restrictions
- Invokes Critical Race Theory
- Invokes the 1619 Project
- The U.S. [or a state within the U.S.] is fundamentally racist or sexist *
- An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex *
- Any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex *
- Meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist or were created by a particular race to oppress another race *
- “Divisive concepts” or “controversial issues” *
* Concepts from the now rescinded Trump Executive Order 13950.
Enforcement Mechanism: Methods to achieve compliance
- Funding withheld: Financial support withheld if entity found to have engaged in CRT activity
- Private cause of action: An individual can privately sue a teacher, school administrator, or entire school district for engaging in CRT activity
- Tenure Revocation or Denial: removes or withholds tenure protections from faculty members employed at colleges and universities.
Category: the anti-CRT measure focuses only on race or ethnicity or also sex or another category including but not limited to religion, socioeconomic status, and color