The New McCarthyists

Some of Idaho’s legislators are reenacting a dark and sinister time in American history, putting on a display of silly politics at the expense of public education. This time, instead of federal bureaucrats, teachers are the target of a wild goose chase.

During the 1950s Senator Joseph McCarthy led performative investigative hearings to fetter out and expose suspected communists in federal agencies. While most of his charges and allegations were unfounded and his victims ultimately exonerated, the lasting damage to peoples’ reputation had been done. People lost their jobs and institutions were denigrated, all the while McCarthy never had actual proof for his audacious claims.

Fast forward to the 2021 Legislative Session and we see some lawmakers using similar tactics as McCarthy to undermine the public’s confidence in public schools. First, they started with a preschool bill, moving on to the higher education budget, and now they are dead-set on de-funding public education. Idaho lawmakers with ties to the Idaho Freedom Foundation have declared Idaho classrooms “indoctrination centers” where students are taught to hate America and pledge allegiance to Marxism. A common phrase we continue to hear on the House floor is “We love our teachers, but…”.

Make no doubt, this campaign to disrupt and disrepute public schools and educators has nothing to do with the alleged indoctrination of students. The long game is to discredit and raise doubt about public education so the state defunds our schools, paving the way for universal private school vouchers. The best way, you as an educator, can fight back against this lunacy is to help elect pro-public education lawmakers and become a PACE member. Education is political but it shouldn’t be partisan and Idaho teachers must step up to meet the challenge of reclaiming the Idaho statehouse for the people.

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