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Curriculum review committees could soon be mandated in Idaho

A photo showing the Idaho Statehouse dome at sunset with two flag poles.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

Public school districts in Idaho could be forced to form curriculum review groups under a new bill passed by House lawmakers Monday.

School districts can already form these committees, but the bill from Rep. Judy Boyle (R-Midvale) would mandate every district to have a 12-member board – half made up by parents.

The remaining members would include three teachers, an administrator, a school board member and someone from the community.

Boyle said it’ll give them a stronger voice in what their children are learning.

“Parents had no idea what was being taught in their school until all of us had to go online to find that out during the pandemic,” Boyle said.

Rep. Dorothy Moon (R-Stanley) agreed, saying her constituents might want to ferret out any inclusion of critical race theory in their child’s curriculum.

Critical race theory is an academic lens by which institutions, like the criminal justice system, are systemically racist.

State lawmakers, including Moon and many others, have claimed with little to no evidence that critical race theory is rampant in Idaho’s public K-12 schools, as well as its universities.

The legislature passed a law last year outlawing teachers from compelling students to adhere to particular viewpoints, including critical race theory. Lawmakers also cut more than $2 million from colleges and universities in 2021 over indoctrination concerns.

Rep. Sally Toone (D-Gooding) said she has nothing against curriculum review groups. But Toone worries the 12-member requirement is unrealistic since many of the existing committees meet during the day.

“People have working lives,” she said. “Do we meet at 6 o’clock? Sometimes that fits in families’ lives, sometimes that does not.”

Curriculum groups could only make recommendations. Any final decision would have to be made by elected school boards.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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