Maine has adopted CRT at all levels of both its K-12 system and throughout the public universities in the state.
Several school boards in Maine sent out open letters to their communities in June 2020, in response to the death of George Floyd. These letters referred to America as a country built on white supremacy, and vowed to dismantle power structures that caused blacks to experience violence every day. This led to a firestorm of parent protests that made national headlines. One father was denied access to his twin daughters’ graduation after he was given a trespass summons. (source 1, source 2, source 3)
In December 2020, the Maine Department of Education released a statement supporting the “work of dismantling racism” in Maine schools, adding to a previous statement in June 2020:
We proudly and steadfastly support the educators and districts in Maine who are taking on the work of understanding and dismantling racism and inequity in our schools and communities. We urge all Maine schools and educators to accept their role and responsibilities in examining and addressing the inequities that have long existed in our society and institutions.(source)
Also as part of the statement there was a commitment to support:
- Every educator in every role shares the responsibility for ensuring equity for every student and participates in equity education, both in teacher and administrator preparation programs and ongoing throughout their careers.
- All academic and non-academic programming is culturally responsive and co-constructed with community members.Reviewing your SAU’s Controversial Issues (check out this resource for support) policy and best practices for engaging in discussions responsively and responsibly.
- Expecting all school personnel to engage in professional learning about anti-racism and culturally responsive practices.
- Reviewing and revising curricula and materials to ensure they are well-rounded, decolonized, and representing all experiences.
- Establishing expectations that every student will achieve and is challenged with rigorous curricula.
On June 6, 2020, the Maine Department of Education released a statement declaring Our Commitment and Shared Resources to Combat Racism. (source) In this statement it is declared that:
We at the Department of Education (DOE) share in the outrage and frustration, and stand with those who are peacefully protesting and demanding a change. We believe in the basic human dignities that should be afforded to all people in our country. We stand with and for our many colleagues, students, and their families who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) around the state, and will do all that we can to fight racism and inequities, and to ensure they are safe and welcomed in the State of Maine. We affirm with you that Black Lives Matter.
Also as part of the statement there was a commitment to:
Providing resources and encouraging Black History and Ethnic Studies in PK-12 curricula and decolonizing current curricula.
Honoring and celebrating all the languages, cultures, histories, and identities of our colleagues, students and their families
A bill to ban elements of CRT from school curricula failed on party lines in the Maine legislature in June 2021. (source)
The University of Maine System (UMS) has used a significant portion of a $240 million donation to advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) across its campuses. UMS hosted a series of seminars entitled, UMS Transforms: Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion throughout 2021. (source).
The May 8, 2021 commencement for the University of Southern Maine included a keynote address by Ibrahim X. Kendi (source).