BOISE, Idaho — Idaho lawmakers are among the first in the country to attempt to ban critical race theory in public schools.
Conservatives across the nation have seized on the term over the past year, although the concept has been around since the 1970s. It’s a theory underpinned by the idea systemic racism continues to exist in the United States and impacts opportunities for and treatment of people of color.
Adrienne Evans, executive director of United Vision for Idaho, said when diverse groups of students aren’t included in the country’s collective story, it sends a powerful message about who is and isn’t valued.
“The ramifications for excluding this kind of truthful, albeit hard, history is deeply disturbing,” Evans explained. “It has a serious impact on students and children, has a serious impact on how we contextualize the world that we live in.”
House Bill 377, which passed this session, withholds funding from public schools and higher-education institutions if teachers compel students to adopt or affirm the tenets of critical race theory. Supporters said it inflames divisions among people of different backgrounds.
Evans pointed out such conservative organizations as the American Legislative Exchange Council have been leading the charge against critical race theory, and note bills to ban or limit it have been introduced in at least ten states.
“This is a really concentrated, coordinated effort to undermine public education and to cast America as something other than what we are, and that in and of itself is indoctrination,” Evans contended.
Evans stressed the country is doomed to repeat its past sins if it can’t come together to understand its history.
“We have to speak out loudly that this is not the kind of representation that we need, and it is really, deeply harmful to all of us and to our collective future together,” Evans concluded.