Education Week: Idaho, seven other states consider limiting instruction of sexism, racism

Bills to limit the teaching of “divisive” content, such as sexism and racism, have surfaced in Idaho and seven other states, Education Week reported Thursday.

The bills use language similar to an executive order from President Trump — since rescinded by President Biden — to ban diversity and bias training in federal government offices, Sarah Schwartz of Education Week reported.

In addition to Idaho, these bills have been introduced in Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and West Virginia, Schwartz reported.

According to the Idaho version of the bill, no instructor would be allowed to “teach, advocate, or encourage the adoption of any racist or sexist concept while instructing students.”

The bill surfaced abruptly on March 19, hours before the Legislature called an 18-day recess due to a Statehouse coronavirus outbreak. The House Education Committee voted to introduce the bill; committee Democrats boycotted the meeting.

House Bill 352 has not received a hearing since.

But on Tuesday, the Idaho House voted to kill a $1.1 billion teacher salaries bill, after conservatives said they wanted the budget bill rewritten to include language banning social justice or critical race theory instruction.

Speaking of the national trend, here’s what Clemson University assistant professor of secondary social studies education Kristen Duncan told Schwartz:

“Right now, we’re in a moment where terms like systemic racism aren’t only used at universities, or among people who talk about race. These are commonly used terms now. So we see a little shifting of the tide of what people understand racism to be. … Making schools a place where students would not learn about that at all is kind of an attempt to put the genie back in the bottle.”


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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