You are here

EAST LANSING, Mich., January 10, 2024 – Insitute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) at Michigan State University affiliated researchers Ariell Rose Bertrand, Melissa Arnold Lyon, and Rebecca Jacobsen today released the results of their research into how the narratives surrounding Critical Race Theory (CRT) shaped debate within communities. The report was published in the Policy Studies Journal and had the following key findings:

  • Exposure to the ban-CRT narrative led to substantially greater support for a ban on CRT. The research identified 11 separate narrative “plots” that circulated about CRT across the country. Individuals who heard all of these plots were 59 percentage points more likely to support a CRT ban than individuals who had not been exposed to the ban-CRT narratives by the fall of 2021. 
  • White and Republican individuals were especially sensitive to CRT narratives. For example, a strong Democrat who has heard all the CRT plots has a 44% probability of supporting a CRT ban, while a strong Republican has an 88% probability of supporting a CRT ban. Similarly, White individuals have a 73% chance of supporting a CRT ban when they have heard all of the CRT plots, compared to a 46% chance for Black individuals. 
  •  Exposure to ban-CRT narratives was associated with decreased trust in local teachers and schools.  A 10-percentage point increase in narrative exposure was associated with a two to three-percentage-point decrease in trust in local teachers and schools to discuss race and racism with their students. This extended beyond teaching about race. A 10-percentage point increase in narrative exposure was also associated with a 3.8 percentage point decrease in trusting teachers to supplement curricula and a 3.2 percentage point decrease in support for schools teaching about fairness and equity.
  • The researchers see this as evidence that ban-CRT narratives have the capacity to chip away at long-standing cultural norms regarding public schools.

"Our findings reveal how CRT narratives that quickly swept across the nation dramatically increased support for bans on CRT in schools and, in doing so, decreased trust in local teachers and schools," said Ariell Rose Bertrand, a researcher with the Department of Education Administration at Michigan State University. Bertrand continued, "We used data from a survey of a representative sample of Michigan adults conducted in September and October of 2021 when the CRT narratives were first circulating."

The report was funded by IPPSR through its Michigan Applied Public Policy Research (MAPPR) Grant program.

A copy of the full report can be found here.