A more recent movement against school equity programs has conflated equity with critical race theory, a movement that started with legal scholars in the late 1970s.
While panic over critical race theory emerged in 2020, disputes in school board meetings turned particularly tense in the spring and summer of 2021, as lawmakers in dozens of states proposed legislation attempting to ban teaching on critical race theory.
Critical race theory examines systemic racism within American institutions, like the justice system or in housing practices. Modern equity programs are broad in focus, and usually involve addressing opportunity gaps in schools and implementing more culturally responsive teaching practices.
K-12 educators and administrators have largely said they do not teach critical race theory. Instead, politically conservative groups have conflated critical race theory and equity programs, misleading parents on the true intent of school equity programs.