I just had a weird experience. I was driving down Bergesen Hill in southeast Boise when all traffic on both sides of the road suddenly came to a stop. It took a minute to learn the cause. A group of baby ducks was trying to cross that busy road and took refuge under a utility van in one of the lanes of traffic. People of all stripes stopped their cars, got out and tried to guide the ducklings to safety. Pet dogs were employed in the task and implements used such as laundry baskets and walking sticks. It was quite a display of man’s humanity to animals. Yet now in our state, the Wolf Depredation Control Board created by our legislature and funded by taxpayer dollars tortures and kills wolves and their babies in dens, shooting from helicopters, setting traps, and hiring killer “contractors” to give farmers and ranchers an assist they demand, but don’t need or deserve. Too bad there aren’t more people like those I saw today in our legislature making laws for the good of all and not just themselves, their farmer and rancher friends, and big business donors and puppeteers. Idaho is diminished by this inhumanity.
Alyson Martin, Boise
U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo recently explained where he stands on immigration. I’m glad that the senator implied that he supports the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. He noted, this legislation will “provide needed improvements to the agriculture-labor component of our nation’s immigration system to provide a more reliable supply of labor to our nation’s agriculture producers and an improved process for immigrants seeking to work in American agriculture.”
This bill is especially important because of the worker shortage agriculture is currently facing. As the senator also said, our country expects much out of farmers and ranchers, especially when a pandemic stresses food supply chains. If the industry does not have enough workers to harvest food, we all suffer. Lawmakers cannot let that happen. Not when there are solutions like the Farm Workforce Modernization Act before them.
Immigrants make up about 75 percent of all U.S. farm and ranch workers. I’m glad Sen. Crapo realizes this legislation is integral to the future health of an industry that has done so much to help us over the last year. I hope Sen. Jim Risch will follow suit and support the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.
Junko Agena, Meridian
Indoctrination is a word that’s getting tossed around a lot lately. Those on the far right accuse teachers at every level – from elementary school to university – of trying to indoctrinate the youth of Idaho. As an educator, this raises serious concerns for me and others of my profession.
There’s no question that the line between education and indoctrination may be blurry at times. But to me the difference is simple. Indoctrination is attempting to inculcate ideas without any critical thought by the recipient. Education encourages critical thinking and evaluation. In fact then, education is the enemy of indoctrination.
Lt. Governor McGeachin’s task force is a perfect example of the far right raising the specter of indoctrination. The stated goal is to “protect our young people from the scourge of critical race theory, socialism, communism and Marxism.” Does that mean that nothing can be taught about these topics? As a student in school and college during the 1960’s and 70’s, I vividly remember learning about and discussing all of these except CRT, which emerged later as an academic discipline. Nothing about that experience made me think that America should adopt one of those models. In fact, learning about them gave me a deeper admiration for the American system of government. Yet McGeachin and far-right legislators like Chad Christensen push their nonsense as some sort of existential threat.
For those who think that the students of Idaho are being indoctrinated with liberal values by their teachers, perhaps they should consider whether their real fear is that the ideas they have taught their children will not hold up to critical thinking. No one who is confident in their beliefs should feel threatened by other ideas. Perhaps the real question should be whether those expressing concern are the real indoctrinators attempting to keep critical thinking out of the education process.
Carolyn Dessin, Alta, Wyoming
The writer is the Aileen McMurray Trusler Professor of Law, University of Akron School of Law.