Little, McGeachin show two sides of teacher ‘appreciation’ in Idaho
Idaho’s governor, lieutenant governor take different approaches to critical race theory discussion, writes guest columnist Chuck Malloy
As the nation celebrated “Teacher Appreciation Week” earlier this month, Gov. Brad Little offered some encouraging words in expressing his gratitude for the fine work that Idaho teachers do. Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin has been sending a different message in the last few weeks, particularly to those teaching civics, history or offering opinions about social justice. (Courtesy of Getty Images)
As the nation celebrated “Teacher Appreciation Week” earlier this month, Gov. Brad Little offered some encouraging words in expressing his gratitude for the fine work that Idaho teachers do.
“We all should signal to our educators that we value them, and we want to keep them in the profession,” the governor wrote.
Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin has been sending a different message in the last few weeks, particularly to those teaching civics, history or offering opinions about social justice. She is putting together a task force, led by Rep. Priscilla Giddings of White Bird, that will spend the next four months exploring how Idaho teachers – many of whom belong to unions and vote for Democrats – are brainwashing kids to the “liberal” points of view.
Little, of course, has nothing to do with this effort. Instead, he offers further praise for educators: “Teachers get to work early so they are prepared for a productive day of learning when their students walk through the classroom doors.”
McGeachin, while firing up her conservative base, suggests there is little that is “productive” about what kids are learning. She wants Idahoans to offer feedback about liberal indoctrination as Idaho education continues to take shape.
But the governor is not deterred: “Teachers are adapting all day long, tailoring lesson content to a variety of learning styles so each and every student can walk away with a better foundation of knowledge and skills. Teachers are passionate about preparing students for eventual careers and creating an environment where students feel safe and supported.”
Not exactly, according to McGeachin. Teachers are putting together lesson plans on critical race theory, which critics say sheds a positive light on concepts like Marxism. She wants critical race theory rooted out of Idaho schools, and she has plenty of friends on her side. According to a writer with the Idaho Freedom Foundation, one school in Garden City has been pushing “anti-gun, pro-Black Lives Matter propaganda” on students.
This is merely a warmup of what McGeachin’s task force will be hearing over the next few months. And McGeachin, no doubt, will expand on her claim that the Biden Administration, barely past the 100-day mark, is pushing for a new rule that will insert critical race theory into K-12 education nationwide.
“The Biden Administration is incentivizing our elementary and secondary school systems to incorporate teaching and learning practices that ‘take into account systemic marginalization, biases, inequities, and discriminatory policy to practice in American history,’” McGeachin says. “In other words, the Biden Administration wants to perpetuate a false narrative of history in which America is a villain rather than recognizing our historical role as the world leader in improving and advancing human condition.”
And you thought that Biden has been focused on vaccines, COVID-19 relief and a big-spending infrastructure bill.
“We know that critical race theory has burrowed deeply into our institutions of higher education, but we are receiving more and more examples of this kind of indoctrination occurring now in our K-12 public schools as well,” McGeachin says. “Are Idaho education leaders even aware of the Biden administration proposed rule and this new onslaught of indoctrination that is at our doorstep?”
McGeachin is far from being alone on this issue. A year ago, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning critical race theory on the federal level, which was repealed by Biden after he took office – which probably explains Little’s relative silence on the issue. These days, it’s political suicide for a Republican officeholder to oppose Trump on anything.
Chances are that many Idaho educators had not even heard about “critical race theory” before McGeachin and some legislators brought it up. There’s no mention to critical race theory in Little’s commentary about teachers.
“To all the Idaho teachers, I thank you on behalf of the people of Idaho for your dedication to our students,” Little wrote.
But here’s a word of warning from McGeachin and friends. Politicians are watching and teachers may want to think twice about digging too deeply into historical issues such as the practices of the KKK, Civil Rights marches and Vietnam protests.
Lord help those teachers who dare tell our children that President Biden was the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election.
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