Senate Approves HB 377: What’s Next?
Despite the protests from students, teachers, parents, and the media, the Idaho Senate voted 27-8 approving HB 377. The bill began weeks ago when Conservative activist Ed Humphreys presented a bill that would ban racism and sexism being taught in Idaho Schools. You can read that story here.
Mr. Humphrey's work was not ignored. Legislation passed in both the House and Senate, despite denials that Critical Race Theory is taught in our schools by the State Board of Education. Students, teachers, and lawmakers testified against the bill before the Senate passed it. (Shouldn't kids be in schools during the day? If it's safe for students to testify at the legislature, I'd expect local schools to be just as safe?) You can read the entire bill here.
How many students were skipping school?
The Idaho Press reports that there were over 100 students at the statehouse who wanted to testify against the bill. The publication does an outstanding job of presenting two sides of the debate.
A student's perspective:
“Many people seem to think that teaching our students about the cruelty and suffering of our country’s past is some form of self-hatred for our own country. But, make no mistake, this is self-awareness,” said Yvonne Shen, an eighth grader at North Junior High and a member of the Idaho Asian American Pacific Islander Youth Alliance, which organized the protest. “If we aren’t able to recognize our own flaws, we will never be able to progress beyond them.”
A senator's view:
Senate Education Chairman Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, 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.
You can see a little of the testimony from Channel 7 here.
Will Governor Little sign HB 377?
It's a tough call trying to predict what the governor will do. His critics say that he's not a conservative. However, he did sign the bill last year, banning biologically born men from competing against biological women. Education was supposed to be the highest priority of his administration, so this bill his close to home.
If I had to guess what I am thinking, I'd say he signs it, if for nothing else, to silence his Conservative critics and shore up his base for the upcoming primary season.
Shouldn't they be in school?
Considering the failing state of our education system, most Idahoans would prefer their kids were in the classroom and not the statehouse. With respect to their misplaced activism, students are not voters or taxpayers. It is incumbent on local educators to focus their students on learning necessary academic skills, not teaching a class in how to protest. Who drove the kids to the statehouse?
I'd suggest the media take a look at how these minors were made available to opponents of the bill. Was this a school sanctioned field trip?
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