This editorial was published by the Post Register of Idaho Falls.
With the recent resignation of one of its members, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s indoctrination task force doesn’t have a single education stakeholder remaining.
It is a committee devoid of serious education professionals. It has no representatives from the Idaho Education Association or the Idaho Board of Education, the Idaho Teachers Association, the Idaho Association of School Administrators or any student organizations.
Some of its members appear not to have had any experience with the Idaho education system at all. The only qualification to serve on the task force appears to be ideological.
Work for the Idaho Freedom Foundation? You’re in.
Just moved here from Washington because you like the politics better? Hop on board.
Concerned about the curriculum at West Point? Sign here.
Until earlier this month, Idaho School Boards Association President-elect Jason Knopp had agreed to serve on the committee, hoping to guide it in a good direction.
But, as he quickly learned, an endeavor so corrupt — one of its chief functions is to allow far-right candidates for governor and lieutenant governor to campaign on the taxpayer’s dime — is not salvageable.
“ISBA suddenly found itself as a party to a committee whose purpose seems to have more to do with partisan campaigning than it does with approaching a sensitive topic with respect, care and the involvement of all voices at the table,” Knopp wrote when announcing his resignation from the committee. “Our concerns about this committee were further solidified when the first meeting made it clear the committee didn’t intend to research claims of indoctrination, but instead invited individuals who are well known for pushing anti-public education rhetoric around the state and our country.”
It is an inquisition of fanatics ....
In an interview with KTVB, Knopp also expressed reservations about transparency on the task force. Internal emails from the committee show there have been suggestions of communicating in ways that will avoid creating a public record.
When reporters from the Idaho Capital Sun recently attempted to get a copy of public comment submitted to the committee — which should clearly be available under public records law — the committee redacted basically everything.
If the point of the committee is to do public business, why do its members feel the need to hide their intentions and everything they’re investigating from the public?
So it’s clear Knopp did the right thing by resigning. Sometimes it is possible to involve yourself in a flawed process, with eyes wide open, in the hopes of limiting the damage it can do. But you can’t swim in this water without catching cholera.
Schools are better served by calling out the committee’s fundamental illegitimacy.
It is a committee that is bent on transforming Idaho’s culture by putting pressure on educators to limit what can be taught and how — attacking academic freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of thought. It is an attack on the foundations of education.
The indoctrination committee will earn its name — not as a committee for the investigation of indoctrination, but as a committee for the production of indoctrination.