Arkansas Dept. of Education Demands School Districts Turn Over CRT-Related Materials from African American Studies Pilot Program

Evan Poellinger | August 30, 2023
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The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) is demanding that the superintendents of five public school districts in the state hand over materials related to the recently-pulled Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies pilot program. Arkansas Education Secretary Jacob Oliva has sent a letter to the five superintendents, in which Oliva outlined the racial ideology impregnated within the program’s curriculum.

“Given some of the themes included in the pilot, including ‘intersections of identity' and ‘resistance and resilience,’ the Department is concerned the pilot program may not comply with Arkansas law, which does not permit teaching that would indoctrinate students with ideologies, such as Critical Race Theory,” Oliva explained.

Oliva requested that the superintendents, “submit all materials, including but not limited to the syllabus, textbooks, teacher resources, student resources, rubrics, and training materials, to the Department by 12:00 pm on September 8, 2023.”

Under the LEARNS Act, signed into law by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) in March, the teaching of Critical Race Theory is prohibited in the state of Arkansas. The intersections of identity section of the African American Studies program, which “examines the interplay of distinct categories of identity” would have incorporated the concept of intersectionality, one of the foundational aspects of Critical Race Theory.

Arkansas is not alone in its assessment that the ideology-charged AP African American Studies course.

In January, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) upheld his state’s ban on teaching of the course in Florida public schools, because of its trappings of Critical Race Theory. As with Arkansas, Florida took issue with the course over the incorporation of intersectionality, as well as the course’s support for “Black Queer Studies” and reparations.

As proponents of racial ideology continue seeking for new ways to indoctrinate students through surreptitiously designed programs, it seems that Arkansas has taken steps, not only to prevent this proselytizing, but also to expose the ways in which Critical Race Theory continues to be expounded.