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Idaho Wants to Make It Illegal for Schools to Teach About Racism

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  • Idaho lawmakers pushed through a bill that would bar schools from teaching about racism. 
  • The bill passed in the Senate and House and is awaiting the governor’s signature. 
  • Lawmakers argued that critical race theory caused division and kids to hate their country, 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A bill that would ban teaching critical race theory and other similar teachings in schools in Idaho is awaiting Gov. Brad Little’s signature. 

The bill, HB 377, passed in the state’s senate on Monday after passing through the house last week. It would prohibit public schools from teaching that “any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior,” which it says can be found in critical race theory. 

The bill also bans teachings that argue that people should be treated differently based on things like race or gender and that people are not responsible for past actions committed by people who share their same demographics. 

Critical race theory is a term created by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw and is a loosely organized framework of legal analysis that “recognizes that racism is not a bygone relic of the past,” according to the American Bar Association. 

The theory acknowledges how slavery and segregation played a role in the current situation of Black Americans and other people of color. 

Some GOP lawmakers said discussions about racism are teaching kids to “hate their country,” the Idaho Statesman reported. 

Students, however, said the discussions on racism don’t teach them to hate their country but instead allow them to have a more clear and accurate understanding of the US’s history. That understanding, they said, is key so that wrongs can be corrected. 

 

“Make no mistake, this is self-awareness,” Yvonne Shen, 13, said. “If we aren’t able to recognize our own flaws, we will never be able to progress beyond them.”

Layne McInelly, president of the Idaho Education Association, told CNN that the idea that teachers were indoctrinating students was “very disappointing.”

“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,” McInelly said. 

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