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Critical race theory is prevalent in most American schools, study reveals

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Elements of critical race theory (CRT) are being discussed in the majority of American schools, despite some contesting they are only taught at the university level, according to findings from the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

With questions on what is being taught and promoted in public schools popping up across the country, policy analyst Zach Goldberg and adjunct fellow Eric Kaufmann sought to uncover some answers. Sampling 1,505 18 to 20-year-old Americans, they focused on CRT and gender identity.

The respondents, 82.4% of which attended public schools, were asked if they had ever been taught six specific concepts in class, or if they had heard about them from an adult at school. The concepts include "America is a systematically racist country," "In America, white people have white privilege," "In America, white people have unconscious biases that negatively affect non-white people," "America is built on stolen land," "America is a patriarchal society" and "Gender is an identity choice, regardless of the biological sex you were born into."

The results overwhelming show most students were exposed to CRT teachings while in school.

In all, 62% of respondents reported being taught or hearing that America is systematically racist, while 57% reported the same regarding white people having "unconscious biases that negatively affect non-white people."

The highest number of students were taught or heard that white people have white privilege, with 66% saying so.

The findings also suggest that gender identity teachings are less prevalent than CRT, although still on the high end. 51% of respondents indicated they were taught or heard that gender is an identity choice while in school.

Goldberg and Kaufmann express concerns about what implications this has, as well as the motivations behind educational institutions across the country.

"The prevalence of students' classroom exposure to left-wing ideological concepts raises the question of its attitudinal effect," the authors write. "Are students who report receiving such instruction more 'woke' than those who do not?" While that is still to be fully determined, Goldberg and Kaufmann believe it is fair to say "many educators incorporating such concepts into their instruction expect, or at least hope, that doing so makes a difference in the minds of students."

National polling shows that what's being discussed in the classroom is on the minds of many heading into the midterm elections, with 77% of likely voters believing education issues are important this year. A review of public opinion from the Gallup Poll suggests that most Americans do not understand critical race theory, and when asked about it being taught in public schools, responses tend to be negative.

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The full report from Goldberg and Kaufmann is set to be released in the coming months.

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