Curriculum controversy: Supporting teacher candidates in understanding politically divisive education




Burkett, Jerry

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Journal of Academic Perspectives


A suburb in north Texas recently made national news when residents elected a mayor, city council members, and school board members who spoke out against the local school district’s proposed Cultural Competence Action Plan. In this plan the district promised to emphasize cultural competence in curriculum, feature student assembly speakers specializing in cultural sensitivity and diversity, and to provide ongoing diversity training for all staff (Asmelash, 2021). Later that year, the state of Texas legislature enacted new restrictions on some types of diversity-related curricula and teacher training. Legislation has also been proposed at the federal level that would prevent federal funds from being used to teach from curricula deemed controversial (Cotton & Buck, 2021). Prospective and in-service teachers have likely seen headlines about the Critical Race Theory “battle” (Kingkade et al., 2021) and may seek professors of teacher education for guidance from their colleges or universities. It can be difficult for new teachers to navigate what could be classified by some as a divisive curriculum in their first-year in the classroom without the proper background, training, and information. It is important to explore these topics to provide an overview and background of the controversy, offer an explanation of concerns and questions parents may have about new curricula, and provide a perspective on advantages to covering racial issues in schools. This paper aims to provide an explanation for educators on some recent controversial conversations around curriculum and instruction in American schools.



Diversity-related curricula, Divisive curriculum, Diverse reading materials


This is the published version of an article that is available at Recommended citation: Burkett, J. (2023a). Curriculum controversy: Supporting teacher candidates in understanding politically divisive education. Journal of Academic Perspectives, 2023(1), 70–74. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.