News and Commentary

Idaho Senate Passes Bill, Could Be 1st State Banning Critical Race Theory In Schools

Could become first state in nation to do so
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

On Monday, Idaho’s State Senate passed a bill already passed by the state House that would ban the teaching of critical race theory in schools. HB 377, which will now be sent to GOP Governor Brad Little for his signature, states:

No public institution of higher education, school district, or public school, including a public charter school, shall direct or otherwise compel students to personally 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.

No distinction or classification of students shall be made on account of race or color.  No course of instruction or unit of study directing or otherwise compelling students to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to any of the tenets identified in paragraph (a) of this subsection shall be used or introduced in any institution of higher education, any school district, or any public school, including a public charter school.

Republican Senator Carl Crabtree, who sponsored the bill, stated, “This bill does not intend to prohibit discussion in an open and free way. It is a preventative measure. It does not indicate that we have a rampant problem in Idaho. But we don’t want to get one,” as the Daily Mail reported

The Idaho Freedom Foundation, which states that its mission since 2009 has been to “advance conservative principles — limited government, free markets and self-reliance,” acknowledged the bill “bans public institutions of higher education and K-12 schools from compelling students to adopt or affirm the divisive tenets of Critical Race Theory,” but still expressed its disappointment with the bill, stating:

The bill does nothing to protect faculty members, professors or teachers. Under House Bill 377, faculty members, teachers and professors could still be forced to undergo anti-racism or culturally responsive training if they wish to serve on search committees or even obtain or keep a job. When educators are trained to be activists, the classroom becomes inherently political and one-sided. Additionally, the bill imposes no consequences on public universities and schools that violate section 33-138 of the bill by compelling students to affirm Critical Race Theory. Such consequences could be holding back funds, recognizing a cause for unemployment, or other disciplinary action. Therefore this bill does not provide sufficient accountability for public schools and universities. 

“For many people, Critical Race Theory training and educational programs violate both freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. Their freedom of speech is violated by being compelled to admit to complicity in racism and sexism that are unlikely to be true,” The Idaho Freedom Foundation added.

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