A recent report shows how much “Critical Social Justice” (CSJ) ideology has been “written into the DNA of Idaho’s public education system.”

The report explains how “a false and harmful anti-American, anti-Christian ideology that sows racial hatred, gender confusion, and resentment” has made its way into Idaho’s public education system.

Published by the Claremont Institute’s Center for American Education and the Idaho Freedom Foundation, “Critical Social Justice in Idaho K-12 Education” surveys the state of education in Idaho.

The authors, Anna K. Miller and Scott Yenor, use the broader term “Critical Social Justice” to encompass more than just “critical race theory.” CSJ includes the sexualizing of children through comprehensive sexuality education and the promulgation of “queer” and “transgender” ideology. CSJ denotes a shift from teaching “the best that is thought and written” toward social activism and a therapeutic education model.

Idaho, with a population of 1.8 million, is listed by World Population Review as the 12th most conservative state in the U.S. Every major state office – from governor to attorney general to the superintendent of public instruction is Republican, as are both U.S. senators and both members of the U.S. House. The state went strongly for Trump over Biden in 2020, 63.8% to 33.1%, and the Idaho House and Senate are heavily dominated by Republicans.

If “Critical Social Justice” is infiltrating conservative Idaho’s schools, it can be anywhere.

The report says, “There are eight main vehicles for integrating CSJ into the K-12 system,” and it explains, “All of these vehicles first seek to be critical of or to disrupt American culture and family values and then to create a new culture dedicated to social justice or liberation.”

Here are those eight ways that CSJ has infiltrated Idaho schools:

  1. Culturally responsive teaching … denigrates those perpetuating the supposedly dominant culture and coerces students into modifying their behavior to suit supposedly marginalized cultures.” This teaching rejects colorblindness when dealing with ethnic or racial issues and replaces facts with “narrative stories” – even in subjects like math.
  2. Social Emotional Learning” (SEL) comes in two forms. “Standard SEL shifts away from the Judeo-Christian understanding about morality and objective truth and towards the self and group norms.” It may include the psychological evaluations of children.“Transformative SEL programs, on the other hand, seek to displace and stigmatize the old, supposedly oppressive cultural, moral religious institutions central to a child’s health and well-being such as the nuclear family, meritocracy and the church” with ideas such as “gender fluidity, anti-white racism, toxic masculinity, white privilege, and the fundamentally unjust nature of American society.”
  3. Teaching activism: Action civics displaces traditional, knowledge-based civics education with training students to protest. This activism works toward the fundamental transformation of America.
  4. Equity mandates that all groups have equal outcomes, so “Students must be treated differently based on their race, culture and socioeconomic background.”
  5. Restorative justice makes school discipline of students a race issue … Any disparity among races in school discipline is seen as evidence of systemic racism.”
  6. “Whole child or ‘student centered’ view of education sees schools as a mechanism to socially engineer emotionally literate citizens by introducing activities that encourage children to reveal their emotional vulnerabilities to state employees.” This is in opposition to a competing one where teachers are subject-matter experts who impart their knowledge to students, who are expected “to show proficiency in that subject.”
  7. “Trauma-informed practices invite the state to assess the private psychological condition of children and intrude further into a child’s life. This therapeutic education model is rooted in the concept of ‘safetyism,’ which makes emotional safety a virtue and creates a feedback loop wherein ‘kids become more fragile and less resilient, which signals to adults that they need more protection, which then makes them even more fragile and less resilient.’”
  8. “Queer theory asserts that all sexualities and taboos must be actively promoted. It endorses experimentation with homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, transsexuality and in some cases even pedophilia.” It rejects traditional views about heterosexuality, monogamy, marriage, and the natural family” and deems societal norms “to be intrinsically oppressive.”

Miller and Yenor explain how CSJ came to be promoted in Idaho schools. One starting point was when the state began participating in the Common Core program, which the authors say “was corrupted by CSJ and became a vehicle for teaching anti-white, anti-male hatred in schools.

The state’s use of accreditation services, curriculums and resources from national institutions also brought CSJ into its schools. Teacher training programs and the teacher certification process are other ways for CSJ to make inroads.

Various federal agencies, such as the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Welfare also incentivize school’s adoption of various CSJ tenets through grants and programs.

The report ends with policy recommendations to remedy this egregious situation in Idaho schools. First, promote parental choice in education, where state funds follow the student. That way, families can choose schools that agree with their religious beliefs and backgrounds.

Miller and Yenor also suggest passing laws where parents must opt in their children for sex education, rather than opting them out. And the authors suggest schools reject Department of Health and Welfare funds that promote “comprehensive sexuality education.”

They recommend eliminating and replacing Common Core standards; allowing charter schools to have their own teacher certification programs; and increasing transparency by making curriculums, books, resources and activities available to parents.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation also offers the resource “Fighting Critical Race Theory in Idaho” to give parents and concerned citizens more information and tools for fighting the radical indoctrination of children.

While both the study and the toolkit are geared specifically for Idaho, parents in any state should access them to understand how CSJ is implemented in schools, who is promoting this dogma and how to push back against it. 

Related articles and resources:

Center for American Education and Idaho Freedom Foundation: Critical Social Justice in Idaho K-12 Education

Idaho Freedom Foundation: Fighting Critical Race Theory in Idaho

Idaho Family Policy Center

The Daily Citizen:

Back To School – For Parents: A busy parent’s guide to what’s happening in your children’s classrooms and practical steps you can take to protect them.

Contact Your State Policy Group

Is ‘Critical Race Theory’ Being Taught in Public Schools? CRT Deniers Claim it Isn’t

Media Dishonest About Battles Over Critical Race Theory in Schools

Photo from Idaho Freedom.