While Idaho is considered a refuge for people fleeing Democrat-controlled areas, a new report shows the state’s supermajority Republican legislature has not protected children from far-left politics in public schools, including state-sponsored racism and hiding transgender ideation from childrens’ parents.
Report authors Anna Miller and Dr. Scott Yenor note that the kind of extremist ideology affecting kids in blue and purple states is also metastasizing within small-town and rural public schools in locales that faithfully vote Republican.
“School administrators in Coeur d’Alene manipulated an 11-year-old girl into believing she was a boy and should undergo gender transition surgery,” Miller writes in a study overview in The American Mind. “The elementary school counselor had coached the young girl into believing she was transsexual and instructed her how to tell her parents about her new identity. According to a recorded phone call between the counselor and parent, the principal and other school officials had known about this and began calling the girl by a boy’s name while purposefully choosing not to inform the child’s parents.”
Coeur d’Alene has a population of approximately 54,000, according to census data. It’s in rural north Idaho, within commuting distance to Spokane, Washington. It’s a conservative lumber, manufacturing, and health-care town surrounded by mountains and lakes. People live there to enjoy the classic American way of life, but their public schools work to undermine that way of life with public resources, in the absence of effective oversight from elected officials.
Leftist morality that undermines the beliefs and desires of a majority of Idaho’s citizens is rampant throughout the Republican-run state’s education systems, says Miller and Yenor’s recently released report for the Idaho Freedom Foundation and Claremont Institute’s Center for the American Way of Life: “Things that were unthinkable five or 10 years ago now are everyday practices in public schools across America.”
Many Idahoans have “the sense that Idaho is immune from these disturbances,” the report notes. “Our school districts seem responsive and responsible. Our laws emphasize conservative values. We have Republican supermajorities… There may be an Idaho difference, but the difference is not what people think. Idaho is uniquely complacent about the trends that people in other states see.”
Putting Explicit Sexual Info In Kids’ Hands
One of the most visible ways many Idaho public schools push extremism common to far-left locales is in exposing kids to adult sexual practices and gender ideology, often without parent knowledge or consent.
For example, a “socioemotional learning” curriculum “used in many school districts statewide including Coeur d’Alene, Pocatello-Chubbuck, and West Ada … encourages students to question their sexual orientation and gender, be activists for issues such as transgenderism, and use the website LoveIsRespect.org for sex advice. The website includes resources such as ‘Five tips for your first time,’ refers places to get an abortion, and promotes sexual taboos like polyamory,” the report notes.
Being a red state offers little, if any, refuge from sexual voyeurism in schools, the report notes: “data suggests that LGBTQ-affirming curricula are widely available in Idaho’s education system. They estimate 31% of Idaho’s middle schoolers and 51% of high schoolers are taught about sexual orientation and similar numbers are taught about ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression.’ Similarly, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) data show 12% of schools teach curriculum promoting the LGBTQ agenda and 47% of school libraries provide students with LGBTQ-related resources,” Miller writes in The American Mind.
Idaho public schools spread such sexual ideology despite state laws requiring schools “to teach abstinence and provide factual, medically accurate and objective information.” The report details how even though several state laws attempt to restrain public schools from exposing children to pornographic and politicized sexual details, many teachers ignore the laws’ text and clear intent.
Teachers Are Deliberately Trained to Teach Racism
Idaho’s education system also heavily subsidizes the racial grievance industry with public funds, starting with teacher training and certification, the report notes. Idaho’s state board of education adopted certification rules common to 18 states that require teachers to develop “culturally responsive teaching. ” These Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium rules “cite Gloria Ladson-Billings’s definition of culturally responsive teaching. She is known for introducing critical race theory to education,” the report notes.
To be certified to teach in Idaho, teachers and other school personnel are thus required to “reflect on personal and cultural biases” “to broaden and deepen his/her own understanding of cultural, ethnic, gender, and learning differences.” To be certified as a “culturally responsive educator” under these requirements, “Two key practices include the rejection of colorblindness and replacing instruction about facts with narrative stories,” the report notes.
In Idaho, this has resulted in the same anti-American and racially biased lessons parents have exposed across the nation. For one example, “iCivics curriculum used in Boise School District’s Third Grade Citizenship unit teaches children that NFL players kneeling in protest at the playing of the national anthem is a sign of civic engagement, rather than disrespect to the country.”
This also results in Idaho churning out teachers who are trained to ignore and undermine any legal restraints on such highly politicized and socially destructive teaching.
“Teachers arrive in schools steeped in teaching techniques designed to dismantle traditional culture, reject colorblindness, adopt social constructivist views of truth and culture, and promote anti-racism. Teacher training reinforces and expands these early efforts. Education nonprofits offer curriculum and programming packages to school districts and principals to bring these elements and techniques into the daily experience of the classroom,” the report says.
Avoiding Parental and Legislative Oversight
Systematically sidelining parent and legislative oversight is another theme of Idaho’s education system, the report finds: “the anti-competitive nature of the public school system allows a small, politically organized group of incumbents to maintain a monopoly on the ideas taught in schools.”
“At the most fundamental level, Idaho’s education system is designed to replace the influence of parents on the opinions and sentiments of children with the influence of public institutions,” the authors write. “Our public education system emphasizes the principles of [critical social justice], a false and harmful anti-American, anti-Christian ideology that sows racial hatred, gender confusion, and resentment. There is no making peace with this imperial ideology. It must either be rooted out of our system (a tall task) or parents must be assisted in walking away from the system.”
Because education’s entire infrastructure has been run for a century by people who pledge allegiance to leftist ideologies that aim to destroy the American way of life, bans on teaching critical race theory or explicit sexual acts have very limited effects, says the report. This means other means are needed to truly end the left’s political weaponization of education funds.
“The effort to ‘ban’ CRT may have roused public support and action among parents to reform the system, but it does very little to fundamentally reform the system,” the authors note. “…It is not possible to establish a ‘neutral’ school system. Those with political power will always teach their beliefs in exclusion of others. Legislators must decide who should be given primary control over the schools and the next generation, get out of the business of banning, and start demanding.”
The report authors therefore recommend lawmakers distribute education funds directly to parents, instead of corrupted education institutions that have shown themselves impervious to a century of reform efforts. This would also relieve U.S. public education’s systemic discrimination against religious families that currently bans children from instruction fully integrated with their faith as a condition of receiving public dollars.
“School choice would allow people to select education options compatible with their religious beliefs and backgrounds, rather than requiring them to fight for control over the public education system,” the report says.
It also recommends rejecting federal grants, letting charter schools construct their own teacher certification pathways, making all instruction materials public, barring schools from using public dollars to pay for racist instruction, and replacing the state’s Common Core curriculum mandates.