Teaching Hope Instead of Critical Race Theory in Social Studies

New academic report provides a roadmap of how taught theories impact student learning

The News: Academic theories underlie the important classes that our children learn in every day at school. But these theories are more than an academic exercise – they shape the lens that students view the world. This is especially true in social studies.

WILL is proud to partner with Scott Niederjohn and Mark Schug, professors who have spent their careers crafting social studies curriculum and training teachers, to provide a roadmap for educators and parents looking to understand how academic theories impact student learning of social studies.

The Quotes: WILL Director of Education Policy­­, Libby Sobic, said, “We encourage Wisconsin school districts to use this report as a guide. Students deserve the right resources and skills to analyze social studies-based subjects, for their personal growth and individual liberties.”

Scott Niederjohn and Mark Schug, the authors of this report, said, “The education of our children is vital to the success of our nation. The social studies curriculum that is being implemented across Wisconsin can be improved to focus more on the opportunity and hope that economic freedom brings rather than emphasis on critical race theory.”  

The Report: In their report, Critical Theories versus Human FlourishingNiederjohn and Schug explore how critical race theory is incorporated into flawed curriculum and textbooks. But the authors also identify a path for reform away from these teaching practices to one of hope. 

Specifically, the report explains that human flourishing is possible through economic freedom. The authors provide research and storytelling of examples in U.S. history that establish this important concept in social studies curriculum. Additionally, the authors identified several resources for teachers, administrators and parents looking for alternative social studies curriculum. 

This report is part of WILL’s Restoring American Education project, an initiative to empower and inform parents, school board members and teachers on how public schools can provide high-quality education that reflects their community’s values so that every child can succeed.

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Director & Professor of Economics at the Free Enterprise Center

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Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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