Idaho Lawmakers Advance Bill That Would Ban Critical Race Theory In Schools

Lawmakers in the state of Idaho have moved one step closer to banning the instruction of critical race theory in classrooms. Sponsored by Rep. Julianne Young and Sen. Carl Crabtree, HB 377 would ban any public institutions from teaching that "any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior." Furthermore, the bill claims that these teachings include "critical race theory."

"[Teaching critical race theory can] 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," the bill argues.

Banning critical race theory from public schools is a movement that was empowered by former President Donald Trump. The former President claimed that critical race theory was "divisive, anti-American propaganda." In recent weeks, Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin launched a task force to "examine indoctrination in Idaho education and to protect young people from the scourge of critical race theory, socialism, communism, and Marxism."

"As I have traveled around the state and spoken with constituents and parents, it has become clear to me that this is one of the most significant threats facing our society today," McGeachin said in a news release.

"We must find where these insidious theories and philosophies are lurking and excise them from our education system."

Despite arguments put forth by federal lawmakers, experienced and accomplished educators tend to disagree with Idaho's characterization of critical race theory. Also, officials in California, Connecticut and New Jersey have recently expanded their efforts to study race in a classroom setting.

"The passage of HB 377 and the accompanying insinuations about Idaho teachers are very disappointing in a statement. This is a 'monster under the bed' problem brought about by a false and misleading narrative that some legislators have willfully conflated. They aim to diminish the public's trust in our teachers and schools, just to come back next year and push to privatize education," Idaho Education Association President Layne McInelly told CNN.

"It's an approach to grappling with a history of White supremacy that rejects the belief that what's in the past is in the past and that the laws and systems that grow from that past are detached from it," Kimberlé Crenshaw of UCLA added.

HB 377 has passed through the Idaho House of Representatives and the Idaho Senate. Next, it has to be signed into law by Governor Brad Little.

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