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HSSD & Critical Race Theory

What is Critical Race Theory (CRT)?

CRT is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as: 

"Intellectual movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of color. Critical race theorists hold that the law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans.”

Is CRT taught in HSSD?  

The answer is no. 

The HSSD Graduate Profile promotes several life skills, including Critical Thinking. HSSD defines a critical thinker as one who “investigates the quality of ideas and how they are connected.”  HSSD teachers incorporate this skill into traditional classroom instruction through exercises like group projects and guided conversations.

Does Wisconsin State Law require school districts to teach the concepts of race and diversity?

Yes. State law requires that all Wisconsin school districts teach about race throughout all grade levels. 

-Wis. Stat. § 118.01(2)(c)8 mandates that school districts provide an instructional program to give pupils “at all grade levels, an understanding of human relations, particularly with regard to American Indians, Black Americans, and Hispanics.” 

-Wis. Stat. § 121.02(1)(L)4 requires that school districts, “as part of the social studies curriculum, include instruction in the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of the federally recognized American Indian tribes and bands located in this state at least twice in the elementary grades and at least once in the high school grades.”

-Wis. Stat. § 121.02(1)(h) requires each school district to “provide adequate instructional materials, texts and library services which reflects the cultural diversity and pluralistic nature of American society.”

-Wis. Stat. § 118.01(2)(c)7 requires the school district to provide an instructional program that will give students “an appreciation and understanding of different value systems and cultures.” In other words, teachers must present multiple perspectives on American history and culture and encourage students to “appreciate and understand” diverse systems.

Whom can I contact if I have questions regarding the curriculum taught in my child’s classroom?

Please follow the District’s protocol for obtaining information by contacting staff in this sequence:

  1. Classroom teacher
  2. School Principal
  3. Deputy Superintendent
  4. Superintendent