The critical race theory fight is leading to educator 'brain drain'

Teachers in classroom.
(Image credit: Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

A growing number of educators across the country are being fired or resigning as hostility toward critical race theory and its role in the classroom mounts, NBC News reports.

Even as administrators in embattled districts insist they don't teach critical race theory (an academic framework intended for graduate students), some parents of young students and conservative activists have continued to use the phrase as a label for a "range of diversity and equity initiatives that they consider too progressive," NBC News writes. Frustrated teachers, unable to address "divisive concepts" with students, are then forced out, leading to "what educators and experts describe as a brain drain of those who are most committed to fighting racism in schools."

"This is going to cause an exodus among an already scarce recruiting field in education," said Kumar Rashad, a math teacher in Louisville, Kentucky. "People aren't entering the field as much as they were, and now we have this to chase them away." Lawmakers in 22 states have already proposed limits on how schools can discuss and address racial issues, per NBC News.

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In Jacksonville, Florida, for example, a white English teacher was fired for displaying a Black Lives Matter banner in her highschool classroom. A social studies teacher at a Tennessee high school is "facing termination" after assigning an essay on former President Donald Trump by Ta-Nehisi Coates and "showing a video of a poetry reading about white privilege." And in Eureka, Missouri, Brittany Hogan, one district's only Black administrator, chose to resign from her role as diversity coordinator after receiving threats so severe she needed private security to patrol her house.

"One of the biggest joys I have is being an educator," said Hogan. "But the job didn't seem worth my emotional and physical safety." Read more at NBC News.

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Brigid Kennedy

Brigid is a staff writer at The Week and a graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Her passions include improv comedy, David Fincher films, and breakfast food. She lives in New York.