Education is in for an overhaul. It won't all be good.
The Federal Groomerment
Direct cash grants enable Washington to circumvent local control of cultural institutions.
The 2020 Democratic platform endorsed the propagation of “medically accurate, LGBTQ+ inclusive, age-appropriate sex education” in Kindergarten. This has had predictable effects. Sexualizing childhood and sowing gender confusion destabilizes sexual identity among children, compromises childhood innocence, and prepares children to be advocates for future, even more revolutionary changes. That is the Democratic agenda that America voted for, and we are getting it, good and hard.
Across the country, libraries are stocking shelves with graphic children’s books promoting, among other things, kinky sex, sexual deviancy, and early sex among children. Many librarians are, no doubt, happy to push Love Makes a Family (targeting children under 4), or George, a novel about a transgender girl named Melissa whom everyone perceives to be a boy named Geo (for grades 3 through 6), or I am Jazz, the memoir of Jazz Jennings, whose genital mutilation and subsequent despair was the subject of an adulatory television program.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency, operates several grant programs to aid state and local libraries. IMLS encourages local stakeholders to “embrace diversity, equity and inclusion.” Every state received significant funding from the IMLS over the past years. In 2021, IMLS dispersed nearly $4 million to libraries in Idaho, for instance, through the ARPA State Grants (nearly $2.4 million) and the Library Administrative Agencies grants (over $1.5 million). Less money was available for grants in 2020, but money flowed through the IMLS to state library commissions.
In 2020, the Idaho Commission established a Welcoming Libraries program, funded in part by the IMLS. Welcoming Libraries hopes to “increase the amount of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) resources a school or public library has available.” It provides resources for local districts to conduct diversity and inclusion audits of their collections, including a Diverse Book Finder’s Collection Analysis Tool and Power Point slides.
Local districts apply to the Idaho Commission to receive these grants. Meridian Library District, the state’s second largest, applied for a Welcoming Libraries grant. The district’s proposal promised to create “a diverse collection so it can not only act as a ‘mirror’ to our minority and underserved groups, but more importantly so it can serve as a ‘window’ for the majority of our library patrons and community.” The staff conducted a “diversity audit of the children’s picture book collection.” It pledged to revamp the collection with “with diversity in mind.” It promised to work with local Head Start programs as it delivered these programs. As a result, Meridian’s libraries are filled with children’s books that “promote childhood sexual activity and gender confusion,” as a recent analysis shows.
Similarly, in 2021, the Coeur d’Alene public libraries, in the supposedly conservative panhandle of Idaho, received a grant for “diversity and equity promotion,” especially to establish a “Mirrors and Windows Book Club.” This club would always feature a “diverse character or subject matter” and provide such books to library patrons. The Nampa Public Library received a grant to conduct a Collection Diversity and Inclusion Audit on for books aimed at patrons under 18. Such grants were also earned by the Glenns Ferry Public Library, the Hagerman Elementary School Library, and the Gooding Pubic Library in rural, heavily Mormon sections of Idaho and in the Emmett Public Library near Boise.
All librarians go to Woke heaven
Ending federal subsidies to libraries will not restore sound morals and a love of genuine child literature. Public libraries are often staffed by hardcore leftists and ideologues. But Red state and local efforts to control their libraries through budgets and oversight are undercut when the national government rains money on state and local libraries. Federal dollars are reinforcements in this cultural battle.
Much the same thing is happening in public schools, where national money allows schools to get around sound, conservative local legislation. In 2010, Idaho received $3.356 billion in total federal assistance, with the largest share of the federal programs flowing into the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (56 grants) and the Superintendent of Public Instruction (49 grants.) Ten years later, federal assistance had ballooned to $6 billion with Health and Welfare implementing 115 grants and Public Instruction 38 grants. The Idaho schools are receiving a growing share of their revenue from federal grants, bypassing local legislative control.
Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare helps support public school programs that sexualize children. The federal government pays for HIV Prevention Activities in Idaho (over $1 million in 2020), Sexual Transmitted Diseases Prevention and Control Grants ($358,000), and Cooperative Agreements to Promote Adolescent Health through School-Based HIV/STD Prevention and School-Based Surveillance (nearly $100K). Other national programs include the HIV School Health grants, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, and the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP). PREP educates students on “contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.” Idaho received well over $1 million in PREP funds in the past few years. With such federal funds, Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare established the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program (APP) in K-12 schools. This translates into teaching ever younger children about using protection and “increasing their knowledge.” Schools all over East Idaho have adopted the “Reducing the Risk” curriculum, as they have throughout Idaho.
Such programs are having an effect. Nearly 57 percent of Idaho’s junior high schoolers are taught about “products and services related to HIV and other STDs” in a required course (according to Sex Ed for Social Change, a sex ed pressure group). Nearly 14 percent of these students learn how to use condoms, and about a third of them get lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
It is not enough to criticize and expose this corrupt and corrupting ideology. We need to recapture these institutions or dismantle them. The federal spigot must stop power-washing away the social fabric of relatively healthy states. National money is subverting local control. States should be increasingly wary of accepting such money.
Protecting the states also means re-limiting the national government. Ending these programs at the national level may not alone restore America, but that goal focuses the mind on realizable and necessary reforms. It is a good place to start.
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.