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As Idaho law gives advantages to leftist union orgs, NEA develops new gender toolkit

As Idaho law gives advantages to leftist union orgs, NEA develops new gender toolkit

Wayne Hoffman
June 13, 2023
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June 13, 2023

Why, oh why, do Idaho’s politicians keep allowing the leftist National Education Association (NEA) to have special rights to control Idaho’s government-run schools? Since 1971, the state of Idaho has afforded collective bargaining rights to school labor unions, the chief beneficiary of which is the Idaho Education Association, the NEA’s Idaho affiliate. 

In recent years, this lucrative arrangement for teachers has drawn too little scrutiny, as the NEA has visibly become more and more Marxist. The organization has become a leading cheerleader for critical race theory. And now, the NEA has unveiled a new gender toolkit that includes recommendations for LGBT-themed books and guidelines for pronoun usage. 

“Inspire and engage your students” with the NEA’s selection of LGBT books, the organization’s website says. The website gives teachers a list of books, some of which are found in Idaho's government schools, as we’ve already reported

The group encourages teachers to not assume anyone’s gender, and describes a scenario in which a teacher might go around the room and engage others in “revealing” their own pronouns. 

“Addressing someone by the wrong name or misgendering them through the use of incorrect pronouns can feel disrespectful, harmful, and even unsafe to the person being misgendered,” the toolkit says. “Misgendering results in marginalization and communicates that a person’s identity is not being seen or respected. So, practice using the pronouns a transgender or nonbinary person requests… yes, even plural ‘they’. It’s a show of respect.”

“If we want to get out of the habit of assuming pronouns, we need to learn and let people introduce their pronouns. Role model your pronouns before inviting everyone to introduce theirs. ‘Hi, my name is Meg and I use she/her/hers pronouns. Could everyone please go around and share their name and pronouns,’” the NEA advises. The toolkit also offers ze, zim, and zir as pronouns that teachers might use. 

Bear in mind that in Idaho, only teachers and firefighters have collective bargaining rights. School boards and city councils are required to negotiate labor contracts with them. Police officers do not have the same standing. Some municipalities negotiate contracts with law enforcement, but they’re not compelled by state law to do so.

In the Republican-controlled Legislature, efforts to give school boards some modicum of control -- that is, to decide whether or not to negotiate with leftist unions -- have failed, as surprising as that might sound. The most recent effort was in the 2021, when the Senate Education Committee rejected a House-passed bill that said school boards “may” instead of “shall” negotiate a contract with a labor union. 

Sen. Dave Lent of Idaho Falls cast the deciding vote, and now Lent is the chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Last legislative session, Lent refused to even entertain a bill that would give school boards discretion on whether to enter into labor negotiations.

Understand that when the Idaho Education Association is given this kind of power, some of the money teachers pay in union dues goes to the NEA. Then the NEA turns around and spends that money to develop and promote toolkits like the one it just unveiled. 

It is utterly implausible that somehow the NEA’s leftism isn’t seeping into Idaho’s school system, or that Idaho teachers have not, though the IEA, paid to put it there. The question that remains is how long Idaho lawmakers will continue to facilitate our own demise and the miseducation of our kids by affording special rights to the NEA and its Idaho affiliate. 

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