News & Politics

Controversial Idaho Bill That Bans 'Indoctrination' of Students Passes Senate

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The left has gotten hysterical again. This time, it’s over a bill currently going through the Idaho legislature that would ban schools from “indoctrinating” students. Leftists claim it bans the teaching of critical race theory. It does not. What it does is make it legal to teach all points of view.

You can imagine how that’s going over on the left.

Several earlier versions of the bill did, indeed, ban critical race theory from being taught. But the final version voted on by the Senate on Tuesday took a much more ecumenical view of teaching history.

Senate Education Chairman Steven Thayn, a Republican, said, “There’s no topic banned in the bill, there’s no book banned in the bill. It does not censor history, you can talk about anything in history. … In fact, it does not ban the teaching of critical race theory, it doesn’t ban that. It doesn’t ban anything. What it says is that you cannot compel students to adopt or adhere” to certain principles.

And that’s a problem for the racial propagandists.

Idaho Press:

Those principles are described in the bill as “often found in ‘critical race theory,’” and declared to be counter to state education policies calling for dignity, respect, and freedom of speech. They include that any sex, race, religion or national origin is inherently superior or inferior; that anyone should be treated adversely because of those factors; or that any person is responsible for past actions of those with whom they share those factors.

Unless you support critical race theory being taught as if it were holy scripture, there’s nothing to argue with there.

There is opposition from some who think the bill is unnecessary, that students aren’t being “indoctrinated.”

“This legislation is not needed,” said Senator Janie Ward-Engelking, a Democrat from Boise. “Our universities and school districts already have procedures in place that will deal with any problem we have in curriculum. What’s happening is we have a group that’s put out for public release comments that our teachers are brainwashing our children with a liberal leftist indoctrination. And that’s simply not true. And we need to call that out. If that were true … we would not be the reddest state in the nation.”

“I just think it’s time that we recognize it for what it is, it’s a hostage situation to get our budget going through,” Ward-Engelking said, “and I think that’s a dangerous path for us to be going down when we’re passing policy that isn’t needed because we can’t get our appropriations through, and that is our job as a Legislature, that is our top priority for being here.”

As a practical matter, it’s probable that few Idaho students need to worry about being “indoctrinated.” The bill is a statement of intent — a warning if you will. The crocodile tears being shed and fake outrage on the left are a wasted effort.

Critical race theory should be discussed. No ideas are too toxic or dangerous to censor. And since critical race theory is a topic of current discussion and controversy, it becomes an excellent example to teach students critical thinking skills.

The best way to prevent indoctrination is to arm students with the intellectual ammunition to combat all forms of propaganda — right and left. Other states may want to look at Idaho’s law for inspiration about how to approach teaching history without falling into a propaganda trap.