The Idaho Senate on Wednesday passed a concurrent resolution encouraging schools in Idaho to teach a complete and accurate history of the United States as well as the principles of liberty and individual liberty.
Concurrent Senate Resolution 118 says, “divisive content is appearing in school curricula across the country”, and says the content seeks to ignore the history of the United States and its journey to become “a pillar of freedom in the world”. The law also references critical race theory, an academic idea about structural racism in legal and governmental systems, as well as the “1619 Project”, a New York Times series that explored the founding of the United States. United in focus on slavery and the black experience in American history.
To date, Idaho teachers and the Idaho School Board Association have reported no subjects taught in Idaho schools.
Senate Democrats said they couldn’t support the resolution, saying it was unnecessary, particularly because it pointed to specific ideas that aren’t taught in Idaho schools. Sen. David Nelson, D-Moscow, also asked how divisive content would be defined, as the resolution does not define it.
Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, said the resolution only seeks to avoid blame based on race.
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“We want to talk about our successes and why the United States has done so well. In the past 200 years, we’ve made a 5,000-year leap in human progress, and that’s partly because – mostly because – we had a limited system of government that trusted the people, coupled with the system free market, which has lifted most of the world out of poverty,” Thayn said.
Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, said he doesn’t think any particular teacher in Idaho teaches critical race theory or the 1619 Project. He read the Poem “They Came First” by Pastor Martin Niemöller in reference to the Holocaust as part of his debate.
“It’s a poignant poem because of what happened to the Jewish people,” Rice said. “There was a teaching of racial guilt that was pushed for a very, very long time in the history of Europe. … When it comes up, this idea comes up, anywhere in our country or in our world , we should stand up against her. That’s all it does. He says we’re not going to blame people for things they didn’t do.
The resolution passed by voice vote, with seven Senate Democrats opposed. It will now be returned to the House for consideration.