The state of Oregon has adopted social studies standards for kindergartners that require children to understand their own identity groups and identify examples of racial injustice.

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) adopted the new standards to integrate ethnic studies in social studies curricula for kindergarten through 12th grade, adding new "perspectives and histories" to allow students to "feel welcome and recognized in the classroom and a part of our collective narrative, our shared history," an ODE spokesman told Fox News Digital.


Kindergartners will "engage in respectful dialogue with classmates to define diversity comparing and contrasting visible and invisible similarities and differences," according to the new standards.

Dawes Elementary in Chicago

Pre-kindergarten students listen as their teacher reads a story at Dawes Elementary in Chicago, on Jan. 11, 2022. (AP/Chicago Sun-Times)

Kindergartners will also learn to "develop an understanding of one's own identity groups including, but not limited to, race, gender, family, ethnicity, culture, religion, and ability," as well as "make connections identifying similarities and differences including race, ethnicity, culture, disability, and gender between self and others," according to the new standards.

The standards also require kindergartners to "identify examples of unfairness or injustice towards individuals or groups and the ‘change-makers,’ who worked to make the world better," as well as "identify possible solutions to injustices that demonstrate fairness and empathy."

The standards were flagged Sunday by Persuasion contributor Zaid Jilani.

The new standards, which were adopted last March and affect every grade, are currently optional and will not be mandated in schools until the 2026-2027 school year. 

Kids in first grade will learn to "describe how individual and group characteristics are used to divide, unite, and categorize racial, ethnic, and social groups," according to the new standards. Kids in second grade will learn how to "use listening, consensus-building, and voting procedures to decide on and take informed action to interrupt injustice or promote justice in their community." Kids in third grade will learn how to "identify how systems of power, including white supremacy, institutional racism, racial hierarchy, and oppression affect the perspectives of different individuals and groups when examining an event, issue, or problem with an emphasis on multiple perspectives."

An ODE spokesman specified in a statement to Fox News Digital that local school boards adopt curriculum to meet state standards set forth by the department, and that Critical Race Theory "is not mandated in any standards."


"However, it is clear that racial equity be addressed to support every learner," the spokesman said. "We know there are long-standing inequities in our systems that have led to gaps in outcomes for students of color. We do emphasize culturally responsive professional learning and an inclusive curriculum that is reflective of all communities in our state. There is both an intellectual and ethical basis for centering equity in professional learning and instructional materials, primarily so ODE can meet its responsibility to create the conditions in which every student can reach their full potential.

"There is a long and painful history of racial bias in education," he continued. "Students are ready for systems and institutions to change. Creating a just and equitable learning environment that embraces the history and experiences of its learners is not only good for students, but also for our communities and our shared future."