"School is the Battlefield": School Administrators, Board Members, and the CRT Controversy

Hannah Dixon


Because they are both socializing agents and a public good, public schools have become key sites in discussions of social issues. Recent controversy about Critical Race Theory, or CRT, has spotlighted how we talk about race and equity in schools. I interviewed educators (school board members, administrators, and teachers) and observed school board meetings to understand school administrators’ interactions with and responses to the debate. School board members and administrators act as liaisons between teachers and community members, putting them in the center of many discussions about social issues in public schools. CRT controversy discourse tends to draw from one of three frameworks for talking about race and equity issues without acknowledging the disconnects between these discourses. School administrators and board members’ observations of their own experiences, teachers’ reactions, and the context for this issue provide connections with larger societal trends and point to potential positive changes to be made in public school discourse.