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  • Writer's pictureAction Idaho

Sen. Lenney Reveals Willful Blindness of State Education Establishment

Executives close their eyes and then say they cannot see anything.

Sen. Brian Lenney (R-Nampa) has raised a fundamental issue about Idaho schools. He argued that Idaho’s education establishment itself has admitted to teaching curricula infused with radical gender ideology. The curriculum at issue was "Second Step," used in numerous school districts around the state.

Establishment educators claimed that Lenney’s worries about CRT, social-emotional learning, topics of gender, indoctrination "tend to distract from the real needs of schools." Superintendent of Public Instruction herself said: “We spent a lot of time … questioning whether or not something that has been portrayed on national news (is) happening here,” said Critchfield. “And most of the time, it is not.”

Perhaps Critchfield and the establishment agree: if SEL and radical gender ideology are being taught in the schools, then it would be a problem. Or, perhaps they think that no matter what is going on in the schools, the only goal is to funnel more resources into them.

What is obvious is that establishment education types, including legislators like Sen, David Lent (R-Twin Falls), have no interest in looking to see whether any racialist or radical gender theories are making their way into the school. They simply accept denials from those who have an interest in denying.

Abraham Lincoln was once told that he should consider removing U.S. Grant as Union General because he had a drinking problem. Lincoln answered: “I can't spare this man. He fights.” Same with Sen Brian Lenney. With the whole establishment bearing down on him, he has written a letter to the Committee for Children, who designed the "Second Step" curriculum, laying out the evidence that it is a vehicle for conveying the radical, degenerate ideas that are popping up all over the country.

His letter is a masterpiece, since he has the receipts on Second Step. It first shows what Second Step has said about its own curricula and the methodologies that the curricula incorporate, then it boils down the particulars to show how those methods make their way into specific curriculum.

At issue is Social and Emotional Learning, a methodology where instructors are supposed to shape the affections of young students toward certain political goals. Establishment figures say SEL is just about creating good habits for studying. That is not what the Committee for Children says about it. As Lenney writes,

You even put out an equity statement pledging to use SEL to build an “anti-racist, equitable and inclusive society” for kids who are marginalized partly because of their “race…gender identity, sexual orientation or other identity features.” Then you pledge to “ensure that [y]our programs are culturally responsive.”

Not good study habits, but one-sided political outcomes. As if that were not enough, the Committee also issued a Letter of Support and Intent stating “we believe that social-emotional learning is fundamental to achieving social justice.”

Get the picture?

Then, Sen. Lenney gets down to particulars, showing how this general ideology makes its way into specific lessons in the Second Step program. He offers more than a dozen examples of radical gender theory and perverse sexuality lessons in the curriculum. There are, he claims, "thousands of links pushing radical gender theory all over your site and in your curriculum.”

Let us close the circle on this. How many Idaho school districts use the "Second Step" curriculum? According to Anna Miller and Scott Yenor, who wrote a report on the topic for Idaho Freedom Foundation in Spring 2022, at least 21% of districts use Second Step. It is being used in Nampa School District (with nearly 15,000 students), in West Ada (about 40,000 students) and in Pocatello (nearly 13,000 students ).

Establishment figures take refuge behind silly subterfuges. SEL’s radical gender ideology only happens in the 8th grade, not to little children, they say. This is a lullaby. SEL curricula are building blocks. Younger children are prepped to accept radical gender theory in the early grades, either by celebrating family diversity or being taught to use their pronouns, or through Gay-Straight Alliance clubs that form in middle school.

One reason to adopt school choice is that Idaho’s schools are, like many in America, pretty miserable: only about a third of Idaho students to math and reading at grade level. Another reason to embrace school choice is that schools are pushing radical politics, including radical gender theory, in the classroom and their culture.

Establishment figures know that radical politics are anathema to many Idaho voters. If the schools are pushing leftist ideology, then Idaho voters will be more likely to embrace school choice. So they have to deny reality in order to protect public schools.

Establishment politicians and executives have to say, “It is not happening here! Just fund the schools and they will get better. No need for school choice.” That is how they vote. That is how they act.

Sen Lenney has revealed how such politicians simply deny reality. We cannot spare this man. He fights!


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