The Idaho Spending Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add some important context to lawmakers’ discussions as the spending bills are considered on the House and Senate floors. As we look at the budget, we consider the following issues:
Does the agency requesting these funds serve a proper role of government? Has wasteful or duplicative spending been identified within the agency, and if so, has that spending been eliminated or corrected? Have budget-writers reviewed existing outlays to look for opportunities to contain spending, e.g., through a base reduction? If there is a maintenance budget, is that maintenance budget appropriate? Are the line items appropriate in type and size, and are they absolutely necessary for serving the public? Does the budget contemplate adding new employees or programs? Does the appropriation increase dependency on the federal government?
Our analysis is intended to provide lawmakers and their constituents with a frame of reference for conservative budgeting, by summarizing whether appropriation measures contain items that are truly objectionable or legitimate and worthy of support.
Bill Description: FY22 Appropriation for Public School Teachers
Update to Earlier Analysis: House Bill 385 is the second K-12 Teacher’s Division budget. The concerns noted below regarding the potential for Professional Development training for teachers remain. In addition to adding another $1 million for Professional Development, further research has revealed the following:
The Idaho Department of Education (SDE) and State Board of Education (SBOE) “Idaho Standards for Initial Certification of Professional School Personnel”¹ require educators to understand and use Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. The document references “social justice” three times.
These standards state that a teacher must:²
“Demonstrate the ability to create a culturally responsive classroom environment.”
“Understand culturally responsive pedagogy and the necessity of utilizing it to create the most inclusive learning environment.”
“Actively engage the school environment, families and community partners to enact culturally responsive pedagogy.”
Be “committed to culturally responsive teaching.”
“Know how to collaborate with general educators and other colleagues to create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments.”
Original Analysis: The language in section 4 of this bill is as follows: “PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. Of the moneys appropriated in Section 3 of this act, $10,850,000 from the Public School Income Fund shall be distributed for professional development that supports instructors and pupil services staff to increase student learning, mentoring, and collaboration.”
The language in the section on professional development states that the efforts should be measurable, but nothing in the language that defines the use of $10.85 million dollars prevents these monies from being used to train teachers in social justice programs like critical race theory. Idaho’s schools are at a critical juncture and keeping pernicious political ideologies like critical race theory out of our schools is urgent.