OpinionTrending Commentary

Idaho Parents Advocate to Maintain Quality Education Curriculum for K-5 Students

Think parents.

Think parents on the ball, proactively involved in their children’s education.

Holding education districts accountable at the local level by asserting parental rights—can really work.

In late May, over 50 residents of Western Idaho stormed a local district board meeting to oppose the adoption of a math curriculum offered by Amplify, an education company that proudly boasts a commitment to “diversity, equity, inclusion” and to “make education, and thereby the world, more equitable and accessible.”

O-kay.

And?

Well, let us consider Tiffany Shurtz, a homeschooling parent who expressed criticism of the education company’s initiative:

“[W]ith other Amplify curriculum, there have been numerous complaints across the nation. … Amplify sexualizes and desensitizes children, undermines traditional values, as well as parents and their parental rights, refers children to harmful resources and violates natural age appropriateness. It does not represent true diversity and equity and is especially skewed toward non-Christian beliefs.”

Such harsh judgement that arguably needs to be justified.

Still, it is essential to highlight the significant impact of a group of individuals who come together in a community, and exert political pressure over a matter that contributes to the moral development of the next generation of young adults.

Imagine if such localized momentum from a group of patriots was consistently maintained and replicated throughout the entire country—and for reasons rooted in their Christian beliefs.

That momentum is underpinned by a sense of responsibility as a parent and patriot who cares about their country’s moral standing. They are choosing to hold their elected officials—or, in many cases, unelected bureaucrats—accountable for decision-making at the local level.

And it is the last sentence Shurtz expresses that deserves a little more probing: “It [Amplify] does not represent true diversity and equity and is especially skewed toward non-Christian beliefs.”

Really?

But, what on Earth is “diversity, equity and inclusion” in the first place?

A “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion” or DEI framework intends to address perceived unfairness against historically “marginalized” or “oppressed” groups pertaining to their ethnicity, religion, culture, disability, social position or concept of self.

Simply put, DEI describes three purported values embraced by organizations, including businesses, schools and government agencies, to hire and support people who typically deviate from a perceived socially privileged group within that organization.

Indeed, the DEI initiative can be traced to the 1960s U.S. civil rights movement and the concept of “affirmative action” initially used in “Executive Order No. 10925.” Signed by President John F. Kennedy, this proclamation requires government contractors to “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color or national origin.”

Initially, “affirmative action” predominantly focused on racial discrimination in the workplace and has since expanded with the DEI strategy to include ethnicity or country of origin, religion, and of course—how could we possibly forget—identities relating to “gender” and “sexual orientation.”

  • Thus, “diversity” in this context refers to actively representing people from various backgrounds at all organizational levels, including leadership, particularly those perceived as “marginalized” or “disadvantaged.” Again, to emphasize, think race, so-called “gender” or “sexual orientation,” disability, and religion.

  • Next, “equity” refers to providing additional or alternative resources, such as compensation, to “marginalized” people so that everyone in an organization can reach comparable outcomes in, say, salary within their designated role, including corporate positions that form the leadership team of a business. For instance, consider “equity” as attempting to minimize financial and health disparities within that organization.

  • Third, “inclusion” implies creating a sense of belonging through policies and practices that shape an organization’s culture. Coupled with promoting “diversity,” an “inclusive” environment strives to ensure that all members feel heard and their contributions valued—but practically speaking, typically those classified as “underrepresented” or “marginalized.” There is also an effort to implement “cultural sensitivity” and “anti-discrimination” training, so that those seemingly unaware of their “social privilege” or tendencies towards bigoted microaggressions experience a realization, and hopefully change their ways to support a more harmonious organizational culture.

Thus, it is now easier to understand Shurtz’s concern that the education company offering a K-5 math curriculum may not necessarily embody genuine DEI values. We can strive to define them with a Christian sense of fairness supported by Scripture, “For God shows no partiality” (Romans 2:11 ESV) and “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice” (Proverbs 16:8 ESV.)

True diversity is the extent to which an organization, steeped in an ethos of equal opportunity, embraces a necessary pool of talent and expertise, and naturally attracts individuals from all walks of life without focusing on their personal backgrounds as part of the recruitment process.

Implementing true equity differs from equality in that it doesn’t provide the same resources to everyone within an organization. Implementing equity is underpinned by recognizing that some members may have limited access to opportunities and privileges taken for granted by others—for instance, due to a physical or cognitive disability. Such individuals may, therefore, need specific resources allocated to help them work independently and take fair advantage of opportunities as their non-disabled colleagues, such as accessibility for wheelchairs or restrooms and elevators in that organization.

Fostering true inclusion means demonstrating awareness and compassionate understanding toward some members of an organization who may need more attention than others due to, say, a physical disability, neurocognitive impairment, or emotional condition. Hence true equity can be achieved through true inclusion.

Across the nation, Idaho has definitely been making waves over the implementation of DEI policies within academia this year. Republican Gov. Brad Little signed a bill into law in late March, prohibiting public universities from requiring statements from prospective students or employees discussing their race, sex, ethnicity, or “sexual orientation,” as well as their opinions and contributions to DEI and matters on “social justice.”

The legislation for Senate Bill 1274, which took effect this month, passed the Idaho Senate in a 27-8 vote in late February before flying through the House of Representatives in a 59-11 vote.

Still, Idaho is one of nine other states with Republican and socially conservative legislators to have implemented restrictions on DEI programs, including Alabama, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

For example, Alabama’sOur Students’ Education (CHOOSE) Act of 2024” restricts state funding from being used for DEI initiatives at public schools and universities, such as activities on college campuses.

Other states, such as Texas, have altogether banned DEI offices, programs, and training at public universities under Senate Bill 17. In Florida, public schools and private companies must adhere to regulations under House Bill 7, which prohibits employers from providing “diversity training” that might promote or aggravate discriminatory concepts based on race, ethnicity, or sex.

It can be argued that Republican-dominated states have a reputation for reacting to a socially liberal and authoritarian cultural push that is primarily supported by their Democratic counterparts.

We can note that DEI initiatives fixate on the individual, not as an autonomous human being but an entity belonging to a “group” classified in a hierarchical system; those at the highest level having access to prestige social privilege with miniscule or limited racial or ethnic discrimination, and those at the bottom constantly in a state of struggle to assert themselves and reach financial stability.

On average, Republican-led states attract donors and tend to embody a significant proportion of voters sympathetic to libertarian and socially conservative values—who do not subscribe to an outlook of institutionalized “group identities.”

The challenge for those of us who sincerely desire to take the bull of culture by the horns and steer the stubborn beast in a direction that favors individualism, and respect for meritocracy and equality opportunity, is the reality that Big Business and Big Banks have become heavily warped in DEI over the last five years.

Although recent reports suggest that major Wall Street institutions are tamping down on “diversity quotas” amid a conservative backlash and concerns about lawsuits for, well, discriminating against others who aren’t perceived as “minority,” “Black,” or “woman,” let us not get ahead of ourselves—and start celebrating.

We cannot underestimate the intense current of authoritarian and micromanaging ideologies pulsating through the United States and other comparable high-income countries, but particularly within the Anglosphere and European Union.

At the same time, We, the People, must remain firm as steel in a value system and vision for our children’s United States—one that promotes individual freedom and overall prosperity, and fierce meritocracy underpinned by a strong backbone of equal opportunity.

Ensuring that America’s youth receive an education that allows them to explore and nurture their natural talents, and later use their abilities, knowledge, and skills to become successful working professionals, is essential for building a thriving nation that is intellectually sharp and physically healthy.

Starting at a local level, educators and parents alike can deliver a K-12 curriculum in history, civics, English, mathematics, science, and various practical skills, including firearms, cookery, dressmaking, woodworking, and money management, all of which provide a solid foundation towards raising a member of American society who feels empowered, desires to make a meaningful contribution, hungry to reap their wealth and prosperity—and to secure this great nation for the next generation with a tremendous sense of purpose.

Content syndicated from Dear Rest of America with permission

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Dear Rest Of America

Dear Rest Of America is a newsletter written by Cameron Keegan, who independently researches and writes about American politics, faith and culture affecting young people through a conservative disposition. To learn more, visit Dear Rest Of America and for questions, send an email to ckeeganan@substack.com

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