News Bite

Little Evidence Of Critical Race Theory In Detroit Schools? Superintendent Says District ‘Deeply Using’ It

Nonprofit’s claim contradicts its own previous report

Chalkbeat Detroit is a nonprofit daily news site that publishes analyses, articles and opinions about education and the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

In a Jan. 10 article about key issues for schools in 2022, Chalkbeat Detroit wrote this:

“Lawmakers likely will continue trying to push legislation that would ban critical race theory in the state’s K-12 schools. The theory is a college-level academic framework that explores the lingering effects of centuries of white supremacy and racist policies that disadvantage people of color. Though there is little evidence it is being taught in K-12 schools, Republican lawmakers in Michigan and in many other states across the country have made banning it a priority.”

On Nov. 15, Chalkbeat Detroit published a story quoting Detroit school district Superintendent Nikolai Vitti at a school board meeting. He said, “Our curriculum is deeply using critical race theory especially in social studies, but you’ll find it in English language arts and the other disciplines.”

After Vitti's comments were reported in some media, the Detroit superintendent retracted his comments at the next board meeting. In a statement, Vitti said that critical race theory is not part of the curriculum but "does inform anti-racist efforts in the district."

In 2016, the Skillman Foundation paid $125,000 to an organization called The Achievement Network to instruct the Detroit district on "best practices."

The Achievement Network's website states: “Our educational system is the product of a complex and interconnected history of racism and bias with generations of students having their first experiences with racial trauma in school. The institutional racism present in schools is both structural — including school and district policies, procedures and practices — and relational — including adult and student mindsets, beliefs, and attitudes.”

Editor's note: This story was changed to include further comments from Detroit Superintendent Nicolai Vitti.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.