Higher Education

David Randall, Ph.D. | October 17, 2022

CRT in OU teacher training

David Randall, Ph.D.

Critical Race Theory has begun to creep into Oklahoma’s colleges of education. It’s difficult to tell, however, just how extensive the requirements have become. Oklahoma needs a range of new measures to ensure transparency in the training and licensure of its teachers and administrators, to find out just how much CRT is already in the state. It also should bar CRT from the teacher training and licensure process—both to eliminate existing discriminatory concepts from teachers’ training and to prevent new ones from creeping in.

I have written previously about the radical politicization of Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma. The parallel politicization of the University of Oklahoma as a whole, and of other Oklahoma institutions of higher education, further intensifies the politicization of teacher education.

Regrettably, Oklahomans must now assume that their education schools are imposing informal requirements—by means of social pressure from students, teachers, and administrators, and by teachers’ deformation and restriction of content in syllabi, class discussions, and presentations of professional education research. Beyond these informal measures, Oklahoma’s education schools are beginning to institute formal CRT requirements. Just look at the requirements that the Rainbolt College of Education has added at OU.

  • The Social Foundations Concentration of the Adult & Higher Education: Intercollegiate Athletic Administration, M.Ed. requires students to take one course chosen from the following.

    • “Inclusive Praxis in Intercollegiate Athletics” (“This course focuses on developing the inclusive practice, multicultural competence, and cultural humility of aspiring athletics administrators.”)
    • “Gender in Intercollegiate Athletics” (“The combination of theoretical, historical, and contemporary analysis will illuminate how gender shapes the daily interactions of all people and in turn sustains the lower social, political, and cultural standing of women in society at large.”)
    • “Race & Ethnicity in Intercollegiate Athletics” (“Focus will be on racial diversity in sports, approaching the topic from a historic/structural perspective, a symbolic perspective, and an internal/personal perspective.”)

This list of requirements demonstrates that CRT has begun to deform the education of Oklahoma’s teachers. But such formally labeled courses are only the tip of the iceberg. The public cannot easily know the syllabi or the materials of these courses. Oklahomans need transparency about education preparation and licensure—as well as a way to bar CRT.

Oklahoma’s state legislature should pass a bill requiring syllabus transparency in all publicly funded education schools—and, indeed, in all publicly funded higher education. Texas already has such a law on the books. A syllabus transparency law will allow Oklahomans to know precisely what is being taught in their education schools. Oklahomans should also require transparency for all materials for education licensure and professional development.

Oklahoma’s state legislature also should pass a bill prohibiting all discriminatory ideologies from education licensure requirements and materials for education licensure requirements. They also should bar the State Board of Education from applying for funds from external organizations that tie funding to discriminatory ideologies, bar external funding for education licensure and professional development (since the vast majority of external funding comes from radical nonprofit organizations), bar alignment with external standards that require discriminatory ideologies, and bar group-identity discrimination in education licensure. Most importantly, they should bar approval of education preparation programs that require discriminatory ideologies. This last measure, above all, is a means by which Oklahomans can remove the racism of CRT from its education schools.

Oklahoma’s state legislature also should pass a bill creating a new, simplified education licensure pathway, which requires students to take a number of undergraduate courses, focused on subject matter content, as well as a standardized test focused on subject matter content—and no other requirements, such as an undergraduate education degree or an education major. This new pathway will allow would-be teachers to avoid the CRT-chokeholds imposed by education schools.

Finally, Oklahoma’s state legislature should pass an Education Licensure Legislative Review Act, which requires all existing education licensure requirements, and all forthcoming revisions, to be submitted to the state legislature and the governor for review and possible veto.

These measures would introduce transparency and accountability into Oklahoma’s education licensure process, as well as providing the strongest possible legal bar to the bigotry and racism of CRT. [For more information and model legislation, click here.] Oklahoma policymakers and citizens would still need to make sure that Oklahoma’s radical bureaucrats enforce these laws—but that task will become doable once these laws are on the books.

[For more stories about higher education in Oklahoma, visit]

David Randall, Ph.D.

David Randall is the research director of the National Association of Scholars. He earned a Ph.D. in history from Rutgers University, an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Columbia University, a master’s degree in library science from the Palmer School at Long Island University, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College. Prior to working at NAS he was the sole librarian at the John McEnroe Library at New York Studio School.

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