In the midst of critical race theory’s creep into the classroom, one state has taken a stand against forced indoctrination within its schools.
On Wednesday of this week, Governor Brad Little signed into law House Bill 377, effectively preventing public school educators, administrators, and staff from compelling students to “affirm, adopt, or adhere” to any tenets that suggest inferiority or discrimination on the basis of “sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin.”
It additionally prohibits the use of public funds by schools and universities to promote such discrimination.
As noted in The Federalist, concerns surrounding the passage of this bill exist on both ends of the spectrum. Senator Carl Crabtree describes HB 377 as a proactive means to address expressed concerns at indoctrination within the schools.
A Boise-based libertarian think tank, The Idaho Freedom Foundation, however, contends that the bill does not allow for the protection of public educators in being indoctrinated themselves.
The group’s site correctly reports that “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.”
Conversely, Idaho State Board of Education sought to adopt a position of neutrality in response to the bill’s passage. However, comments made by newly elected state board President Kurt Liebich suggested otherwise.
In his statement, Liebich expressed surprise that the state Legislature would be focusing on supposed indoctrination within its schools rather than the impact of the pandemic on education.
Liebich stated he is not aware of any evidence that supports the presence of indoctrination and concluded his public comments with a commitment to collecting data and metrics that supports “systematic indoctrination or stifling of free speech.”
Those concerned about the creep of critical race theory into schools across the nation would do well to pay heed to the conversations taking place.
While this bill acknowledges the legitimate concerns regarding forced indoctrination, it fails to adequately reject the forced exposure of students to its ideas. It represents a mere compromise between those polarized by the ideology espoused by critical race theory, rather than a solution.