May 17, 2021 (This article was previously published in the Rexburg Standard Journal on April 27, 2021 RSJ Article)
By: Representative Karey Hanks
It’s an age-old trick: dangling the carrot in front of the donkey to get him to move; in other words, to induce desired behavior. Presently in Idaho, the “carrot” is the millions of dollars in federal grants, which induces acceptance of the accompanying ideologies within the Critical Race Theory and other “social justice” agendas.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a relatively new term, an addition to social justice (SJ), and is an academic discipline based on Marxist ideology, which was formulated in the 1990s and was mostly constrained to universities until recent years.
According to a recent Imprimus article entitled Critical Race Theory: What It Is and How to Fight It: “It has now been injected into government agencies, public school systems, teacher training programs, and corporate human resources departments in the form of diversity training programs, human resources modules, public policy frameworks, and school curricula.”
Many of us recognize the accompanying terminology, such as “equity,” “social justice,” “diversity and inclusion,” and “culturally responsive teaching.” These terms have seeped into all facets of our national culture. Individuals are hesitant, and even fearful, to speak up about race or other social issues that may lead to accusations of “white supremacy” or, in some cases, causes the individual to lose his or her job.
The Dignity and Nondiscrimination in Public Education Act (H377) was approved in the Idaho House this week to address the CRT/SJ agenda that has crept into Idaho’s public education system. Parents, students, and teachers have shared concerns, objectionable curriculum, and personal experiences resulting from the implementation of this agenda in several areas of our state. While some educational entities claim no CRT/SJ is being taught, this proposed policy can also be seen as a preemptive move. We must ask ourselves, “Do we lock our doors and set the alarm before we leave our homes, or after we have already been robbed?”
While some news outlets and politicians deny the occurrence of this indoctrination, recent articles highlight the seriousness of CRT in school systems nationwide. For example, in a recent National Review article, the headline reads, “Biden Set to Push Critical Race Theory on U.S. Schools.” Biden’s proposed order will establish priorities for grants in American History and Civics Education programs and gives priority to grant “projects that incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives.” His order also cites and praises the New York Times’ “landmark” 1619 Project, as well as the work of Critical Race Theorist Kendi, as leading examples of the sort of ideas the Biden administration wants to spread. Under this order, future federal grants must include CRT/SJ in the curriculum.
This brings us to Senate Bill 1193 (S1193), a $6 million education grant proposal (and a redux of H226 that failed earlier in the session). Research into the details shows that only about $1 million of this amount will actually go to the groups. The Idaho State Board of Education plans to partner with the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (IDAEYC) to administer this grant. Contained in S1193 are these conditions (emphasis added):
“The State Board of Education shall oversee the grant and sub-grantees to ensure the activities, projects, objectives, and outcomes are met and that federal requirements, reports, and deadlines outlined in the grant award are satisfied.”
If not this grant, what is the solution? A group of legislators is working on a funding alternative that excludes federal funding (which most always include “strings”) and also removes the “middleman.” Or, perhaps we should choose to keep the government out of our homes and lives.
Since this grant is tied to Critical Race Theory, which promotes radical Marxist ideas, I will not be supporting this “carrot,” or other future grant proposals which support this ideology. I know our families and communities can do better without it. And aren’t most, if not all, programs better administered at the local level?
Editor’s Note: S1193 was held in the House and did not come up for a vote prior to the House recessing.