Sen. Steven Thayn is leading an effort to make parental choice in curriculum a Republican Party priority.
Thayn, R-Emmett, has drafted a resolution on parental choice and rights, and last week, it passed the Gem County Republican Central Committee unanimously. Thayn and other Republicans will take the resolution to the GOP State Convention, which runs June 12-14 in Moscow.
Thayn’s Gem County resolution first heads to the convention’s resolution committee. If adopted there, convention delegates would decide whether to include the resolution in the GOP platform.
Thayn said he wrote the resolution in response to concern over the Common Core standards.
“Common Core kind of brought this to forefront with curriculum and decisions made at the state level and multistate level,” Thayn said. “Parents, as they try to get involved, realize they don’t have any mechanism to have any formal input.”
The idea, said Thayn, is parents would select the curriculum most appropriate for their children. In turn, such decisions could create competition among curricula, allowing parents and state officials to compare and contrast competing ideas.
Common Core proponents say the new English and math standards do not dictate curricula; they are simply benchmarks students should reach at each grade level.
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Thayn said he doesn’t know exactly how his idea would take shape, but one idea he likes is allowing parents to fill out forms at the district office to dictate curriculum decisions and share with school boards.
“The basic, fundamental issue at play has to do with a free society where government derives its just power from the consent of the governed,” Thayn said. “What role and powers should parents have in choosing curriculum and the things being taught to their own children? I don’t think we really address the issue.”
Resolutions and planks of party platforms do not carry the force of law and would not immediately impact schools. A platform is a set of ideals or principles that party members might, or might not, support or advance. Platform language could later take shape in bills drafted in the Legislature, which next convenes in January.
Aspects of the Idaho Republican platform include:
- Supporting a balanced budget and a federal balanced budget amendment.
- Pushing for lower federal, state and local taxes.
- Abolishing the Federal Reserve and backing the U.S. dollar with gold and silver.
- Stipulating the needs of early childhood education are best met by individuals, families and the private sector.
Thyan’s resolution reads:
Resolution: Role of Parents in Education
Whereas; education of our Idaho youth is an important function necessary to perpetuate a Republican form of government:
Whereas; in a Republican form of government the government derives its powers from the consent of the governed:
Whereas; parents and parental involvement play a critical role in the education of our youth:
Whereas; parents are responsible to train their children in ethic and moral values:
Whereas; the public school system works best when parents and teachers work together:
Whereas; many parents have had and continue to have concerns about what is taught in public schools; yet no mechanism exists in state law that allows the average parent to have input into or chose their child’s curriculum:
Now, therefore let it be it resolved; that the position of the Republican Party be that the state of Idaho should create a process whereby parents can work with local school boards and administrators so that parents can give input on curriculum decisions and/or chose the curriculum that each parent thinks is appropriate for their own child.