Bellwether (formerly Bellwether Education Partners) is an education consulting firm, generally located petty solidly along the American Enterprise Institute-Thomas Fordham Institute axis of education reform. Their huge list of "partners" include those two thinky tanks, the CANs, Teach for America, the Broad Foundation, then 74, the Walton Foundation, American Federation for Children, and a host of other choicey reformster outfits. They have some Bain alumni, including co-founder Mary K. Wells, though co-founder Andrew Rotherham, external relations guy and voice of Eduwonk, is the person you more likely run across on line.
While there is no mistaking their particular bent, this outfit is less about lathered-up advocacy and more about actual facts than some of the brethren (looking at you, current version of Manhattan Institute). Rotherham is on my short list of People I'll Probably Disagree With But I Will Still Make It A Point To Read Them.
All of which is to lead up to my point, which is that Bellwether has put out a publication that is really worth reading.
Common Ground: How Public K-12 Schools Are Navigating Pandemic Disruptions and Political Trends, by Rotherham, Kelly Robson Foster, and Michael D. Corral is a one-hundred-and-page collection of information from a wide variety of sources. The stated goal is "to help the field separate signal from noise and provide context around various issues and trends affecting the sector." And the report delivers lots of information from diverse sources, a little bit of contextualizing, and no real attempt to dictate what should come next.Our goal is to provide a clear fact base for discussion about complicated issues. It is not to suggest “right” answers on contested questions. We present a great deal of public opinion data not because we believe the majority position is axiomatically the correct one but rather because understanding the landscape is essential. Reasonable people can and will disagree about the best remedies or policies for much of what we describe here. Instead, we seek to establish a common fact base on the premise that understanding the landscape is the first step toward successfully navigating it.
Polling data shows that CRT panic was unaccompanied by CRT knowledge. One particular telling poll shows that people support CRT as long as you don't call it CRT. And the writers are clear about the problems caused by anti-CRT laws that are vague and difficult to enforce (though on this they do miss the role of giving the public the right to sue any school they think is being naughty).
They also offer some data to suggest that the disagreement is not as wide or deep as most people think it is, and that other issues are of greater concern.