K-12 Education

The Hawaii State Department of Education has adopted the 2030 Promise Plan (https://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/VisionForSuccess/AdvancingEducation/StrategicPlan/Pages/Phase-I.aspx). The plan has five goals, two of which are Equity, and Empowerment. The Equity portion has fully embraced Social Emotional Learning, a hallmark of CRT (pg 6: https://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/DOE%20Forms/Advancing%20Education/5-Promises.pdf). The Empowerment portion dedicates the public school system to encouraging students to become activists (pg. 8)

Contrary to many states that mock criticisms of CRT by saying it’s a field taught in colleges, an article by Hawaii Public Broadcasting not only admits it, but promotes it (source: https://www.hawaiipublicradio.org/local-news/2021-06-01/critical-race-theory-for-k-12-graders):

Some schools are trying to talk about racism through critical race theory. People usually think of racism as something that comes from an individual’s bias and prejudice, but critical race theory argues that the structural and institutional features of racism have more impact.

In the past few months, conservative lawmakers have advanced or passed bills that ban educators from teaching certain concepts, including critical race theory.

Kendall Thomas, a professor at Columbia Law School, explains why he thinks it’s important to teach critical race theory to children. He says, ‘Much of what we teach students in K-12 schools is basic civic literacy, so that we can all be part of the American community.’

Democratic Hawaiʻi State Representative Amy Perruso taught middle school and high school before entering politics. She says it’s important to have uncomfortable discussions in the classroom. She states, ‘If we want to have a robust democracy, we have to be honest about our society and to challenge inequity where we see it.’

’To say that it creates racial division is to elide the actual underlying division and conflicts. It’s to really minimize them or silence them and I think that’s a form of violence. And if that is what is true about our society, then we should examine it, and challenge it, and make it better,’ says Perruso.

Higher Education

No statewide mandates exist for colleges and universities in Hawaii to incorporate CRT. However, many of the colleges in the state have embraced mandatory CRT training.