Critical Theory, Ethnic Studies, and Social-Emotional Learning

The coronavirus pandemic gave parents a window into their child’s education—and they weren’t always happy with what they saw. The “woke” ideology uncovered in schools typically fell into three main categories: critical theory, ethnic studies, and social-emotional learning.

Critical Theory

Critical theory—which includes as critical race theory and critical gender theory—is rooted in Marxism and categorizes people by their gender, race, or sexual orientation. Based on this, CRT separates people into groups of oppressed or oppressors—a status from which you are freed only when all existing societal structures, which are inherently racist and sexist, are overthrown.

Further reading:

Parents Defending Education

How Leftists’ Critical Race Theory Poisons Our Discussion of Racism, Ellie Krasne, Heritage Foundation

Ethnic Studies

Ethnic studies, which became popular in the 1960’s, is the study of different ethnicities, nationalities, genders, and religions. It sounds benign. But instead of focusing on America’s strides to achieve equality and freedom, and the many minority Americans who worked tirelessly to achieve freedom, ethnic studies often imposes a narrow political ideology and worldview on students. It is highly polarizing, fundamentally anti-Western, and views history and civics entirely through a racial lens.

Further reading: 

Ethnic Studies: Evidence-Based Curriculum, or CRT Trojan Horse? Max Eden, American Enterprise Institute

Social-Emotional Learning

Originally, the goal of social-emotional learning (SEL) was to promote morally neutral soft-skills such as self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and goal setting.

In 2020, everything changed with the shift to Transformative SEL. Transformative SEL embeds race and gender ideology into lessons typically used to teach students how to handle their emotions.

“What these [SEL] programs do,” says Jennifer McWilliams, a former teacher and SEL expert, “is use innocuous language like ‘social emotional learning,’ that sounds nice, to cover the Trojan Horse that it is for bringing in the Critical Race Theory ideology, gender identity / sexual orientation [instruction], and social justice education.”

Further reading:

Social-Emotional Learning: What Parents Need to Know, Parents Defending Education