Opinion: Idaho Freedom Foundation Misinformation About Education Initiatives
The infamous Idaho Freedom Foundation, which essentially owns and runs the extremist branch of the Republican Party today, wants to destroy the Gem State public school system. Most recently, on August 8th, IFF President Wayne Hoffman reiterated his call for states to pull out of the “education business”. This seems like a tall order because the Idaho Constitution requires Congress to “maintain a common, unified and complete system of public, free public schools.”
Hoffman argues that “our school system has morphed into brainwashing camps built into centers that teach riots, resistance and race wars, instead of teaching students to read, write and do math.” . Hoffman seems desperate for a crash course on what dedicated teachers across Idaho are doing to educate their children with the inadequate resources they receive from Congress.
Rather than calling for constitutional reform to abolish the public school system, Hoffman prefers to overthrow the constitution by bashing public schools at every turn. He urges his legislative legislature’s loyal subordinates to deplete the funding needed for public schools. He promotes the use of state funds for private and religious schools that make public schools even poorer. He insults teachers and falsely claims that they are instilling “dangerous anti-white ideologies” in children. No wonder so many teachers are quitting their beloved professions.
The Idaho public school system is overseen by an elected school board and run by teachers and administrators who live in the local community. It is a cowardly lie to claim that they are trying to subvert local values instead of doing their best to give their children a decent education.
Hoffman argues that our school “will produce a generation of idiots who are more easily controlled and manipulated by despicable politicians, media pundits and government bureaucrats.” He seems to describe what education in Idaho will look like under the control of the IFF. Idaho has achieved greatness thanks to its public school system, which was one of the state’s top priorities when it became a state in 1890. Idaho can maintain its greatness if the legislature fulfills its constitutional duty to provide adequate funds.
The IFF’s latest anti-education strategy is to spread misinformation about an education funding initiative that will be voted on in the November elections. The Quality Education Initiative will raise $323.5 million more for schools in Idaho, giving voters a chance to do what Congress has failed to do for years: adequately fund schools. These funds will come from raising the corporate tax rate to 8% from 1987 to 2000. The initiative also creates a new highest income bracket for individuals whose annual income exceeds $250,000 for her ($500,000 for him if the couple jointly declares). Only earnings above these levels taxed at 10.925%. Other tax amounts remain unchanged.
The IFF falsely claims that the initiative will “raise taxes for all Idaho, including poor and middle-class families and small businesses.” Without bothering to do its own analysis, the IFF was caught by the misinformed claims of out-of-state tax groups to support their opposition to the initiative. Longtime reporter Betsy Russell conducted a detailed review of the IFF’s claims and found them unfounded. It’s nicely summarized in the title, “Unsubstantiated Claims: Why School Funding Initiatives Don’t Have Higher Price Tags Than Advertised.”
Russell analyzed and evaluated the IFF’s arguments with the help of Idaho’s leading legislative drafting expert, Mike Nugent, who was the legislature’s lead drafter for 26 years until his retirement in 2018. increase. I was in awe of Nugent’s abilities during his tenure as Attorney General in the 1980s and during his 12 years on the Supreme Court. He knows what he’s talking about, but he’s an out-of-state tax group and he doesn’t know the IFF. This initiative does not what the IFF claims, but what its proponents say Reclaim Idaho does.
Jim Jones is a Vietnam War veteran who served eight years as Attorney General of Idaho and 12 years as a Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court. He is now a regular contributor to The Hill’s online news.