Louisiana’s New Social Studies Standards Would Not Include Critical Race Theory

As of last week, eight states had prohibited school districts from setting mask requirements, according to a tally by Education Week, with lawsuits winding through the court system in several of those states. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia require masks be worn in schools. (Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

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In the latest draft of Louisiana K-12 schools’ social studies standards, state education Superintendent Cade Brumley said critical race theory “was not a component of these standards, nor would any of these standards open the door for any form of indoctrination.”

The social studies standards are guidelines for the content and timeline of what history is taught in public schools. Louisiana’s social studies standards are supposed to be reviewed and revised every seven years but haven’t been updated since 2010-2011, meaning the state is three years overdue.

Revisions have been significantly tied to conservative concerns about critical race theory that have swept the country. Its opponents have sought to limit discussions of racism and equality in the classroom setting.

Brumley said he defines critical race theory as teaching in a way that “everything must be viewed from the lens of race.”

A team at the Louisiana Department of Education, including Brumley, worked on revising the standards following public feedback. The superintendent called the latest version of the standards “a freedom framework.”

“I feel like these standards represent the desire for freedom in our country,” Brumley said. “I think these standards tell the whole and truthful story of our country, but also capture the fact that we live in the greatest country on the face of the earth.”

Louisiana history standards by grade

Here’s a breakdown of the history standards focus for Louisiana’s K-8 public school students: 

  • Kindergarten: “Life in my home, school and local community”
  • 1st grade: “Life in the great state of Louisiana”
  • 2nd grade: “Life in our great country, the United States of America”
  • 3rd grade: “The American story: People, places and papers”
  • 4th grade: “The ancient world”
  • 5th grade: “The medieval to the early modern world”
  • 6th grade: “The United States and Louisiana: Beginnings through ratification”
  • 7th grade: “The United States and Louisiana: The early republic through Reconstruction”
  • 8th grade: “The United States and Louisiana: Industrial Age through the Modern Era”

History standards for Louisiana public school students in kindergarten through fifth grade will include themes such as “Life in our great country, the United States of America” and “the ancient world.”  Middle school students will concentrate on U.S. and Louisiana history.

Louisiana high school students will learn American history from 1607 to 2008, world history from 1300 to 2010 as well as world geography.

“When we’re talking about the Declaration of Independence (or the Constitution or liberty), that’s something that we want our students to hear multiple times over their career,” Brumley said. “These are ideas that we want them to hear multiple times over their K-12 experience.”

The next step for the standards involves a review before the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. In December, BESE pushed back its deadline for approving the revisions for the second time.

At the time, Brumley told the board the delay was necessary because of the sheer number of public comments the education department received on the proposed standards. Many complained they allowed critical race theory to be taught in schools.

Louisiana K-12 teachers and parents will have another chance to provide feedback on the updated social studies curriculum standards through Feb. 22 here.

BESE will vote on the proposal in March. If approved, the standards will be implemented by the 2023-24 school year.

Louisiana Illuminator is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Louisiana Illuminator maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jarvis DeBerry for questions: info@lailluminator.com. Follow Louisiana Illuminator on Facebook and Twitter.

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