Law seeks to insure “dignity and nondiscrimination in public education”
On April 28, 2021, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed House Bill 377, which bans public institutions from teaching particular elements of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and forcing students to accept it. It also bans public funding for any related curriculum.
Idaho becomes the first state in the nation to enact prohibitions against CRT in public education. While many cheered the bill, critics say more must be done.
HB 377 aims to insure “dignity and nondiscrimination in public education,” and bans the teaching of any theories that “exacerbate and inflame divisions on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or other criteria in ways contrary to the unity of the nation and the well-being of the state of Idaho and its citizens.”
There are two sections of the bill. The first section reads:
DIGNITY AND NONDISCRIMINATION IN PUBLIC EDUCATION. (1) It is the intent of the legislature that administrators, faculty members, other employees, and students at public schools, including public charter schools and institutions of higher education, respect the dignity of others, acknowledge the right of others to express differing opinions, and foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction, and freedom of speech and association.
(2) The Idaho legislature finds that tenets outlined in subsection (3)(a) of this section, often found in “critical race theory,” undermine the objectives outlined in subsection (1) of this section and exacerbate and inflame divisions on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or other criteria in ways contrary to the unity of the nation and the well-being of the state of Idaho and its citizens.
Section 1 goes on to prohibit public educators from compelling any student to affirm that certain classes are superior or inferior, or that any individual belonging to a particular class is inherently responsible for the actions committed in the past by other members of that class.
The main point of Section 2 states:
No moneys shall be expended by the state board of education, any entity under the state board of education’s jurisdiction, or any school district, public charter school, or public institution of higher education for any purpose prohibited [by this bill].
The Daily Signal provided further detail:
Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, approved the proposal this week. With the new provisions, “no public institution,” including colleges and K-12 schools, “shall direct or otherwise compel students to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere” to the idea that “individuals should be adversely treated on the basis of their sex, race, religion, color, or national origin.”
Lawmakers were right to be concerned that some educators were distorting the idea of equality under the law. The Idaho Freedom Foundation, a research institute based in the state, obtained a flyer posted by Meridian Middle School officials that says it is not enough for teachers to “treat ALL students the same” (emphasis in the original). Instead, school officials say educators must recognize students’ multiple identities based on race, sex, religion, and other immutable traits.
Colorblindness, according to the school officials, is a “myth,” a rejection of this once-cherished idea from the civil rights movement. The flyer, available on the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s website, says colorblindness “perpetuates the idea that ‘white’ is the norm and everything else is not.”
The Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF), a free market think tank, cheered the bill but says more must be done. IFF President Wayne Hoffman took the opportunity to blast public education officials in the state for misrepresenting the bill, writing,
Idaho education officials are being dishonest when they say there’s no evidence of leftist indoctrination in our public schools and universities. They’re also being dishonest when they claim that the newly-signed House Bill 377 prevents critical race theory from being taught.
The legislation is certainly helpful. It says that students can no longer be compelled to “personally affirm, adopt, or adhere” to a doctrine of hate that is embodied in critical race theory. Despite media reports to the contrary, the new law does not ban teaching CRT, nor does it ban teachers from being trained in how to treat some students as victims of systemic racism.
As the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Anna K. Miller discovered, so-called “culturally responsive teaching” is baked into Idaho’s rules for teacher certification. Those rules might explain why Idaho’s teacher certification requirements demand educators promote social justice. It probably also explains why some schools in Idaho are openly recruiting teachers who are social justice warriors.
Hoffman reports the Idaho Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, dedicated its members to teaching its teachers to become active racial and social justice advocates, and that Idaho’s schools are “hotbeds of institutional racism.” The largest teacher’s union in the state, Hoffman writes, continues to hold workshops on how to infuse critical race theory and culturally responsive training into classrooms.
The Daily Signal also reports,
State lawmakers in Texas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma, to name a few, are considering proposals similar to what Little approved in Idaho, and for good reason. For example, in Louisiana, the Orleans Parish school board adopted a resolution that says “our country’s racist history” is “still pervasive in today’s systems” and calls this nation “an unjust systemic racist America.”
In March, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his state of Florida would exclude CRT from public curricula, and would create a “foundational concepts” curriculum in civics.
The Legal Insurrection Foundation (LIF) has assembled resources for tracking CRT in colleges and public schools across the nation. The interactive map at CriticalRace.org lists colleges by state and reports how much CRT training each college requires for staff, faculty, and students. The K-12 page has a selection of resources to learn more about how CRT has infiltrated primary education.
Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, on Parler at @RealJeffReynolds, and on Gab at @RealJeffReynolds.DONATE
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