Idaho House rejects yet another education funding bill

BOISE, Idaho — For the third time this legislative session, Idaho lawmakers have rejected an education budget over social issues.

This time the budget impacts K-12 teachers. The state’s teacher salaries budget failed to pass last week in a 34-34 tie in the Idaho House. The bill would have been $1.1 billion package for educators around the state, but Republicans claims there are certain topics being taught in public schools that don’t align with ‘Idaho values.’

“As a teacher I feel that it’s very disrespectful to the education profession,” said Karen Lauritden, a teacher in Post Falls.

Lauritden has been a teacher for 20 years and says the actions taken in the Idaho Legislature aren’t exactly surprising, but some of the language coming out of the State House isn’t true.

“We need to fund our teachers, but we need to protect our teachers from being forced to teach this garbage of social justice, including critical race theory,” said Rep. Heather Scott.

Lauritden says her fellow teachers she works with also don’t know what lawmakers are talking about.

“I hear from people that they hear things on social media, like they hear that were indoctrinating their children or there’s social justice being taught to kindergarteners or we don’t say the pledge anymore, and that none of those things are true. The fact is that as teachers we go in every single day and teach kids, that’s what we do,” said Lauritden.

This isn’t even the first time education funding has been under attack in the Idaho legislature this year; two weeks ago the House rejected a more than $630 million budget, which would have gone towards funding the higher education schools in the state.

“I have talked to parents in my district… who tell me their high school students are getting critical race theory from their government teacher,” said Rep. Julianne Young.

Lauritden said that kind of hearsay is what causes people to call the schools to find out more.

“A lot of times I hear from the legislatures, ‘Well, I heard it from my sister in law’s sister that in their school, there’s this happening,’ and the fact is it’s the same sort of thing they must be hearing from social media or some sort of news outlet,” said Lauritden.

The budget failing to pass means it must go back to the legislature’s budget committee to be redone and return to the house for yet another vote — it’s not known how long that will take.