This afternoon the House of Representatives is expected to vote on Senate Bill 1193, a bill to accept a federal grant of nearly $6 million dollars for the education of children ages 0-5 years in Idaho. While education is well recognized as essential, this bill raises serious concerns by choosing a private organization (the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children) to carry out the implementation of the programs that would be funded by this grant.
Problems with the bill:
First of all, the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (IDAEYC) has a national parent organization committed to ideals that are in complete contradiction to Idaho’s legacy of unified communities regardless of skin color and strong families based on natural gender roles. One website page of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) lists “equity resources” for educators including Gender Justice in Early Education, Teaching While White, and Raising Race Conscious Children. Representative Priscilla Giddings and the Idaho Freedom Foundation recently highlighted two books NAEYC recommends. One is entitled “Sparkle Boy” and introduces the idea of transgenderism to children while the other is entitled “A is for Activist.”
While some may argue that IDAEYC is somewhat independent of their national parent organization NAEYC, it is evident their influence is still strong since childcare and education providers for young children who want to affiliate with IDAEYC are still proudly accredited through the national parent organization. Additionally, the “Submit Your Resume” page for educators on the IDAEYC website asks if the educator is a NAEYC member.
Another point of concern is that it will be difficult, if not impossible, for taxpayers to hold a private organization accountable for their actions. Government is required to be transparent to the public and citizens can hold their elected officials accountable during elections, but that will not be the case in this government partnership with a private organization. What recourse will there be for Idahoans if IDAEYC makes detrimental decisions in establishing these early education programs?
Lastly, the 70 page document that explains the specifics of the grant programs includes some alarming goals and plans to capture data regarding the education and testing of children enrolled in the grant programs that will be turned in by educators who receive money from this grant. The plan is for this data to eventually be integrated into government database systems already in places like the K-12 database system, criminal justice database system, and the health and welfare database system. Boise State University will also receive the data and recommend to state policymakers how to proceed with programs for educating young children based on the data they receive.
What can you do?
This bill narrowly passed the Senate in a vote of 18-17 and is expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives today. Please help us preserve strong communities and families in Idaho by immediately contacting your state legislators and sharing your thoughts about this bill with them. Your voice is needed now more than ever!
Lindsey Zea is a Policy and Research Associate with the Madison Liberty Institute. Lindsey holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from BYU-Idaho and loves finding applications of history to current events and political debates. She also serves as a Policy Analyst with the Better Cities Project (BCP) and formerly interned with the Libertas Institute in Utah.