In a win for parents of all races, colors and ethnicities concerned for their children’s education, Idaho Governor Brad Little has signed into law a prohibition against teaching “critical race theory” (CRT) in the state’s public schools. The original bill, HB 377, states that the law is based on the principle that teachers, students and institutions should “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.”
According to a recent report, however, CRT “makes race the prism through which its proponents analyze all aspects of American life.” The report’s authors write that CRT normalizes the “belief in systemic racism for the average American” and has a “commitment to dismantle all aspects of society through unremitting criticism.” CRT was developed from “critical theory,” a Marxist-based ideology that calls for the abolition of family, individuality, eternal truths, nations and tradition.
The Idaho legislature, understandably, disagrees with that approach and explained why in the preamble to HB 377.
“The Idaho legislature finds that tenets outlined in subsection 23 (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.”
Although the law is not a specific ban on teaching CRT, it exposes the faulty assumptions underlying it by prohibiting institutions and teachers from directing or compelling students to affirm, adopt, or adhere to any of the following tenets:
- That any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior;
- That individuals should be adversely treated on the basis of their sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin; or
- That individuals, by virtue of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin, are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin.
HB 377 also bars government funding to any public educational institution that teaches in violation of the prohibitions contained in the law.
Idaho state senator Jim Rice applauded the bill’s passage by noting it contains the “same principles that have been the foundation of the Civil Rights movement.”
“It’s that every individual should be treated equally under the law, that no one should be compelled to believe something just because someone else does.”
Blaine Conzatti is the Director of Advocacy for the Family Policy Alliance of Idaho, a Focus on the Family ally. In an email to The Daily Citizen, Conzatti explained the importance of the new law.
“Critical race theory is a Neo-Marxist ideology which aims to destroy the underpinnings of American society by attacking our governmental and economic systems as inherently and irreparably racist,” Conzatti said. “Those who propagate this poisonous ideology hope that by smearing the moral character of our constitutional system of government and our free enterprise system, they will convince enough Americans that a social revolution is needed—one that brings America closer to socialism and totalitarianism.
“Public schools should teach children that every person is created equal and should be judged based on their character, not the color of their skin. For this reason, critical race theory has no place in public schools funded with our tax dollars. I am grateful that the Idaho State Legislature is the first to stand up and protect our children from the racist, anti-human, and anti-American venom that is taught in too many of our public schools.”
Several other states, including West Virginia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Arkansas have introduced similar bills. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis accomplished the same thing via an executive order.
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