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Twin Falls School District textbooks

One of the textbooks in Colleen Parkin's history class at Burley High School is shown in January 2014. Parkin's students have been using the books for the past 12 years and most are falling apart.

Education should be the antithesis of indoctrination. But that very canon of critical mind creation is under assault throughout the country.

And that’s why the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday should kill the obvious piece of glad-handing for the unhinged, commonly known as the “parental rights” bill.

Sponsors Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, and Sens. Lori Den Hartog, R-Meridian, and Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene, say they just want to codify established legal precedent. It’s a smokescreen for the bill’s true intent: the sanitation of all things found offensive by the black helicopter set.

The trio’s legislation — which squeaked through the House late last month and now lingers like a rash in the Senate — seeks to expand parental involvement in education, backers say. What it would actually do is create an unworkable, a la carte education system where parents could suddenly ban the basic principles of biology, literature and U.S. history.

Anyone looking for the real purpose of the parental rights bill should turn their gaze to Texas and Oklahoma. Conservative Oklahoma lawmakers last month banned Advanced Placement U.S. history because the course dares to suggest American civics haven’t always been the most glorious thing on the planet. It’s a movement for a crowd that would rather forget — rather than learn from — the annihilation of Native Americans, slavery, Jim Crow and the Vietnam War. Mistakes, who us? Texas’ textbooks are so pumped full of dangerous red, white and blue jingoism and religion-based faux science that it’s a miracle students don’t think Jesus himself crafted the U.S. Constitution.

It’s not only conservative revisionists who are attacking education. The left’s political correctness police are silencing voices on college campuses throughout the country.

And the parental rights bill is, in effect, the Idaho Bud Light to Texas’ Budweiser. It’s the slippery slope that cedes power to those who want Idaho’s young minds isolated from the unpleasant, factual and thought provoking.

Take, for example, the 2013 witch hunt against Dietrich biology teacher Tim McDaniel, who had the gall to say “vagina” during a high school biology lecture. A handful of parents got McDaniel suspended for doing his job and naming a key component of human reproduction. Again, this was in a biology class. And, even worse, state regulators humored the small mob by spending months actually investigating the long-time teacher. These are the people Trujillo, Hartog and Souza hope to empower. This is the movement the three lawmakers hope to hand public education.

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The fact is, Idaho parents already have substantial power over their children’s exposure to “controversial” issues, such as sex ed. And they should. Further, there are private and public alternatives for parents who aren’t comfortable with the standard public syllabus.

But putting non-professionals at the helm of curriculum-building is a recipe for confused students and propaganda-laced fake history. Poor education begets poor citizens in a free society.

Bills such as this are fueled by paranoia, fear of new ideas and a twisted longing for a past that never existed. It’s a rampant plague that can only be addressed with a strong dose of fact-based reality in public schools.


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