BOISE, Idaho — A long debate took place in the Idaho House this morning over the next year's K-12 public school budget. The $1.1 billion bill designated for teacher salaries ultimately ended in a tie vote 34-34, causing it to fail.
This is the third time this session that the House has turned down education budget bills because of fears and concerns of social justice teachings in the classroom.
Those opposed said the bill focuses more on “critical race theory” being promoted and taught in public schools the bill funds.
“We need to fund our teachers but we need to protect our teachers for being forced to teach this garbage of social justice including critical race theory,” Representative Heather Scott (R.) said.
Those in favor stated this bill is meant to pay Idaho teachers their salaries
“I would like to remind the body; this is about paying our teachers. If you want to discuss curriculum choices or things that need to be addressed and choices that are made by districts, this is not your budget. This is about paying our teachers who are good people and deserve our support.”
Legislators who are also teachers tried to assure their colleagues that all Idaho teachers are following the approved state education standards.
“I don’t have time to teach critical race theory. Are you kidding me? I have to just prepare my content for the next day. This whole discussion on critical race theory coming into classrooms this year, that's nuts. The problem with this budget is that it's too short because teachers are working too hard not being compensated enough,” Rep. John McCrostie (D) said.
With the tie vote, the bill returns to the joint budget committee where dissenting lawmakers want a re-write.
“I believe this needs to be returned to JFAC to add a policy that prohibits discrimination and prohibits teaching that the discrimination on the basis of race or sex is a good thing for our children to hear,” Rep. Wendy Horman (R) said.
It should be noted, all curriculum decisions in Idaho are made at the local level by individual school districts.
Before the vote took place, Rep. Rick Youngblood told the House that putting a stop to the bill would mean there likely will be a lot more work that needs to be done in order to create a new version, which could extend the legislative session even longer.