A majority of Republican college students believe state legislatures should not limit how public schools and universities teach history, according to a Generation Lab/Axios poll released Thursday.
The poll showed 60% of Republican students did not think it was a state legislature’s job to limit the history curriculum of public education, while 46% said public schools should teach “that patterns of racism are ingrained in law and other institutions.”
Out of the Democratic students polled, 82% said state legislatures shouldn’t limit public education, while 97% agreed public schools should teach “that patterns of racism are ingrained in law and other institutions.” Among all participants, the results were 77% and 82%, respectively.
Republican-controlled state legislatures have moved to ban Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools, with nearly 20 states passing laws to prevent CRT from being taught. Despite this, 41% of respondents to the poll said they don’t really understand what CRT is, while 30% had only heard of it for the first time when taking the survey.
CRT holds that racism has been a fundamental part of America since its foundation and teaches to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue a concept known as anti-racism through the end of individual merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.
While nearly half of Democrats said the government should have no power at all to control history curriculum, only 27% of Republicans agreed. The divides were deeper between Republican and Democratic students when it came to the existence of systemic racism.
Only 16% of Republicans said racism today is primarily systemic, not committed by individuals with prejudice, while 86% of Democrats did. Additionally, only 23% of Republicans said they believe their high school history curriculum was flawed in how it taught race, compared to 81% of Democrats.
The survey was conducted June 24-28 from a representative sample of 810 students nationwide attending 2-year and 4-year schools. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points, according to Axios.
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