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VDOE: Critical race theory not a part of K-12 curriculum

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 4:00 PM EDT
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BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - People made their way to the Bedford County School Board meeting Thursday night to hear about new changes heading to schools.

Those new changes come after confusion over critical race theory and if it will be taught in schools.

The simple answer: no.

In an email to WDBJ7, the department of education says “‘Critical Race Theory’ is not included in Virginia’s standards of learning,” later saying this year “the General Assembly passed SB1196 and HB1904 to advance cultural competency training for school staff.”

That training is called culturally responsive teaching and is designed to connect students’ cultures to learning.

“That doesn’t mean that we dumb down our curriculum. It means that we make our curriculum accessible to the widest variety of students possible,” said Sarah Ovink, Virginia Tech associate professor of sociology.

Ovink says that is different from critical race theory, which is about examining different issues as they relate to race.

That theory is taught at higher levels, often times with grad students.

“This is a legal theory. This is a scholarly theory. This is argued over by graduate students and sometimes my undergraduate students,” said Ovink.

Meanwhile, culturally responsive teaching will help teachers connect students’ cultures to what they learn in school.

Training on culturally responsive teaching will be brought to educators at a later date and teachers will be evaluated on that new standard.

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