The bill received a majority vote of 28-7 in the legislature was subsequently sent to Little’s desk. It bans educators from forcing students to “affirm, adopt or adhere to” any teachings that profess that an existing identity group is inherently superior or inferior to another or responsible for any historical wrongs associated with their identity group.
“The claim that there is widespread, systemic indoctrination occurring in Idaho classrooms is a serious allegation,” said Little. “Most worryingly, it undermines popular support for public education in Idaho.”
HB 377, sponsored by state Republican Senator Carl Crabtree, also affirmed the obligation of teachers to protect the right of students to express differing opinions and “foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction, and freedom of speech and association.”
In advocating for the passage of the bill, Republican state Senator Jim Rice remarked that it includes 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.”
The legislation also bans funding to K-12 schools, colleges, and universities that force students to subscribe to tenets of critical race theory. In addition to Idaho, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, and Arkansas have also introduced bills to curb indoctrination in public schools.
“This bill does not intend to prohibit discussion in an open and free way,” Crabtree shared. “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.”
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