- The Washington Times - Friday, November 19, 2021

A newly released poll of Connecticut residents shows more support in the consistently blue state for teaching “racial history” rather than “critical race theory” in K-12 public schools.

The digital poll of 1,000 residents, conducted Oct. 14 to 21 by Sacred Heart University’s Institute for Public Policy & Civic Engagement, found that only 39.8% of respondents supported teaching critical race theory defined as “examining social, cultural, and legal issues primarily as they relate to race and racism in the United States.”

But the study said 71.2% of respondents, more than two-thirds, said they believe K-12 students “should learn about the history of racial injustices in the United States.”

William Yousman, a communications and media professor at Sacred Heart, said the results show the extent to which the politicization of the phrase “critical race theory” has affected even residents of the progressive northeastern state, which supports a range of liberal social policies and has not voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988.

“The weaker support for critical race theory in K-12 schools is suggestive of the manner in which the term has been weaponized by political campaigns to turn it into a wedge issue that can be used to divide voters,” Mr. Yousman said.

“Unfortunately, the term is now being used to attack any type of teaching about racial injustice,” he added.

He said the poll results reflect these divisions demographically, showing younger Black Democrats are the likeliest state residents to support CRT.  

Politically, 61.7% of surveyed Connecticut Democrats believe CRT should be part of a K-12 curriculum, compared to 17.8% of Republicans.

In the racial breakdown, 63.2% of Black respondents believe CRT should be part of a K-12 curriculum, compared to 35.3% of White respondents.

Among different generations, 55.7% of respondents aged 18 to 34 believe it should be part of a K-12 curriculum, compared to 32.2% among those ages 65 or older.

Based on the study’s definition of critical race theory, 54.7% of respondents indicated being familiar with it and 29.2% unfamiliar.

Demographically, 56% of White respondents were familiar with the term, compared to 48.7% of Black respondents and 53.2% of Hispanic respondents.

But Kimberly Fletcher, founder of the conservative parental rights group Moms for America, disagreed with the assertion that “political campaigns” caused these divisions among state residents.

She said the survey affirms that “no one has a problem with teaching truth” about America’s racial history because people “learn from past mistakes how to avoid them in the future.”

“But critical race theory doesn’t teach truth so we can learn from it; it teaches lies and deceptive extremes to promote division and conflict,” Ms. Fletcher said.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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