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Connecticut poll finds support for teaching U.S. racial history, but not critical race theory

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Most Connecticut residents support the teaching of U.S. racial history in public schools. But they oppose critical race theory, which is currently not on the public school curriculum. That’s the finding of a new poll by Sacred Heart University’s Institute for Policy Studies.

The poll found that only 40% of respondents agreed that critical race theory should be added to the public school curriculum.

Opposition to critical race theory broke down along party affiliation and racial lines with a majority of Democrats and black respondents in favor and a majority of Republicans and white respondents opposed, said Bill Yousman, an associate professor at Sacred Heart University familiar with the poll.

“It's an indication that critical race theory has become a term that's been weaponized politically in order to scare people,” he said.

Many of the respondents to the poll were not familiar with the term because it is an academic term that has been weaponized by politicians, Yousman said.

“For someone who doesn’t really know what it is, 'critical race theory' I think that can be a term that would turn some people off or would frighten them. But in actuality that's not what K-12 schools have been trying to do,” he said.

Critical race theory played a role in a school board election in Guilford earlier this month. A slate of five insurgent Republicans, who claimed they were running to prevent the introduction of critical race theory were defeated by a coalition of Democrats and Independents by a 2 to 1 margin.

The digital poll of 1,000 Connecticut residents was conducted over the last two weeks of October. It has an error rate of plus or minus three percentage points.

Sacred Heart University is the licensee of WSHU Public Radio.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
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