Home > Uncategorized > Idaho State GOP Legislators Reject Pre-School Funding Championed by Trump, GOP Governor, GOP Senators. Why? Because Pre-Schools are Converting Kids into Liberal Activists.

Idaho State GOP Legislators Reject Pre-School Funding Championed by Trump, GOP Governor, GOP Senators. Why? Because Pre-Schools are Converting Kids into Liberal Activists.

March 9, 2021

In a story that defies logic but hews to the paranoid narrative of some conspiracists, Idaho legislators are turning down a $6,000,000 grant to provide pre-school preparation to 15 communities in the State. The grant, which was sought and promoted by GOP leaders at the national and state level, has fallen prey to a bizarre and baseless conspiracy theory promoted by the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF). Here’s the grant’s background, as described in Scott McIntosh’s editorial in the Idaho Statesman:

The federal funding is part of a multiyear grant that started under the Trump administration. Idaho Gov. Brad Little, who has set early literacy as one of his top priorities, approved Idaho to pursue the grant in 2019.

Idaho’s Republican U.S. Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo support the grant and voiced that support in a joint video statement in February.

The $6 million in funding that legislators rejected last week is the latest phase of the “preschool development grant,” which organizers say is a misnomer because Idaho is not developing a pre-K program. Rather, preschool means just that, helping children before they start school.

Idaho already received $3.3 million in grant funding in 2019 to establish local collaboratives in 15 communities around the state, from American Falls, Idaho City, Coeur d’Alene and Murtaugh to Juliaetta, Kuna, Fremont, Kendrick, Nampa and more.

The Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children was designated as the state’s grant facilitator.

It’s the last sentence that led to the conspiracy theory. You see the IFF mistakenly asserted that the IDAHO Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) was beholden to the NATIONAL Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) and that the NATIONAL AEYC was promoting a liberal agenda… no… make that mandating a liberal agenda. Both of these assertions are false. But the IFF and their GOP adherents are not convinced! Mr. McIntsoh writes:

The Idaho Freedom Foundation suggested that this federal grant would be used to “indoctrinate” Idaho’s children with “social justice ideology,” “critical race theory,” transgender rights and teach them how to be “activists.”

“The central idea of these activities is that young children are increasingly acclimated to becoming activists and will be comfortable organizing for progressive leftist causes as they get older,” Idaho Freedom Foundation’s education policy expert Anna Miller wrote in a piece posted just a few days before the vote.

I’m no “policy expert”, but I would tend to believe Idahoans who are operating theses programs overseen by local boards have to say about the programming offered under existing grants. And here’s what THEY have to report:

The goal of the grant is to improve literacy and prepare children ages 0-5 for school. It’s as simple as that.

“The whole focus of the grant is family engagement and supporting families with young children,” Beth Oppenheimer, Idaho AEYC executive director said. “This is about school readiness and literacy. Nothing more, nothing less.”

In Idaho, the local collaboratives make decisions on a local level on how best to achieve those goals, Oppenheimer said.

“We’re not coming in and telling these communities what to do,” Oppenheimer said. “We’re coming in and helping them navigate leaders within their community to develop early learning communities.”

Ms. Oppenheimer emphasized that the IDAHO AEYC is in no way connected with the NATIONAL AEYC and NEITHER organization promotes the kind of brainwashing the IFF believes is occurring.
And here’e what I find sad: the elected State GOP is adopting the narrative promoted by a special interest lobbying group over the FACTS presented by their GOP colleague in the State House, their elected Federal legislators, and the President they elected in 2016. Despite the conduct of this legislature, I do retain faith in Democracy and, in so doing, would expect the 15 communities who were denied funding to help their prepare their children for school will vote these legislators out of office. The GOP governor, the GOP Senators and House members, and, yes, even the former GOP President were all doing the right thing for the children in the state. It’s time for STATE officials to follow their lead.
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