CRT, social justice appear in AP curriculum across US

High school AP classes now include social justice and Critical Race Theory in their lesson plans.

Websites including College Board provide resources to help educators promote both sets of curricula.

Campus Reform covers how ideas in higher education pertaining to social justice ideology and Critical Race Theory feed into K-12 curriculum.

Here is a look at how social justice and CRT appear in AP courses across the country. 

Throughout the last couple of years, the term “Critical Race Theory” (CRT) has become a widely debated topic, especially when it comes to whether or not these topics are being taught in K-12 schools. According to multiple articles from teachers and students across the country, “social justice issues” and CRT have made their way into AP courses.


At Montgomery Blair High School, Donna Whitney is offering an AP Language and Composition course, according to the student newspaper Silver Chips Online, that is “centered around social justice issues” to her students. 

The school is located in Silver Spring, Maryland. 

 Whitney’s course “comprises four unique units: Identity and Community, Intersectionality, Social Justice, and Environment,” the school outlet reports. 

Whitney explained to Silver Chips Online that she chose the books and course structure that she did because “[a] lot of students, you know, read [works by] dead white men throughout school and there has not been…diversity, and I thought that complex texts cross every type of society…Students just aren’t exposed to that.”


Lisa Penninga assigned her AP English Language class at Forest Hills Central High School a “social justice project.”

Students “could pick any topic of their choice,” The Central Trend reported, “as long as they were passionate about it and willing to fight for their cause, all centered around this idea.”

The students’ chosen topics ranged from racism and mental health to transphobia and genocide. 

Penninga told the outlet that her students “are going to change the world,” and “that this is just the first of many more opportunities for [the] students to voice their opinions.”  

New Jersey

Cherry Hill Public Schools, located in New Jersey, has created a set of “core interdisciplinary studies electives,” which include AP Seminar and AP Research classes in addition to a course “Social Justice.” 

”Positive literary examples of tolerance, citizenship, kindness, fairness, and equality in literature, media, art, and popular culture will promote these same values in our students,” the Social Justice course description reads. 

AP Central 

Through its AP Central program, College Board has released materials that will help teachers achieve “equity” in their classrooms. 

The “Achieving Equity in AP Workshops” provide a “customized” experience for “teachers and administrators in a single district or school to explore how to create an AP program devoted to improving access to and equity in advanced academics for students from all populations,” according to the College Board website. 

Teachers Pay Teachers

Teachers Pay Teachers, an education platform, has a variety of AP English Language Essay prompts that are available for purchase and download. 

How to be an Antiracist AP English Language Style Essay Prompts contains three free response questions modeled after the AP English exam, apparently based on Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist

The topics “challenge students thinking on ideas such as Affirmative Action (Synthesis), racist policy (Rhetorical Analysis), and Black Lives Matter (Argument).”

Similarly, the platform’s Social Justice: Diversity AP English Literature (FRQ) Essay Prompts contains 10 “Literary Analysis prompts that represent diversity and a current shift in what we should be reading in school.” 

Campus Reform reached out to Donna Whitney, Sara Penninga, Cherry Hill Public Schools, and the College Board. The article will be updated accordingly.