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"(We) are being accused of things that (we) are not doing': Basin School District responds to CRT claims

Basin School District in Idaho City issued a letter to the House Education Committee, after hearing what they say are false claims made by a state lawmaker

IDAHO CITY, Idaho — On Thursday, the Basin School District in Idaho City issued a letter to the House Education Committee, after hearing claims made by the lawmaker that represents their district.

On Monday, Representative Dorothy Moon (R - Stanley), who represents the Idaho City area, made claims that a school in Boise County had pre-k curriculum laden with critical race theory (CRT).

"There obviously was [CRT in the curriculum]. I worked with one of those cohorts down in Boise County and I did see the curriculum that was being brought in and it was very much CRT," Rep. Moon said during that committee hearing.

Brian Holmes spoke with Jamie Pilkerton, the principal of Basin Elementary School, and Brian Hunicke, the superintendent of the Basin School District, about the letter, as well as the allegations made by Rep. Moon.

Brian Holmes: When you hear that what do you think?

Jamie Pilkerton: "I was taken aback because I have no idea what she was referring to because she did not review any of our curriculum. She never came up here to review it, she did not request any of the materials, so I have no idea."

Brian Hunike: "I called both the other school districts (Garden Valley and Horseshoe Bend) to ask if they had any contact with Rep. Moon, and they said they had not either, and they also said they are not including any CRT in their curriculum."

Brian Holmes: According to the letter you spoke with Rep. Moon about this a while ago, or last year about this.

Jamie Pilkerton: "Yes, during the last legislative session. I contacted her in February prior to all this actually coming up just to see if she wanted to come on-site and look through those items and see if she had any concerns about what we were using."

Brian Holmes: And she didn't?

Jamie Pilkerton: "She did not."

Brian Holmes: And have you heard from her since?

Jamie Pilkerton: "No I have not. We had, I think, two conversations last spring, and then some email exchanges where I sent her our strategic action plan, but she did not review any curriculum or any of those items. It was our strategic action plan and then a letter I had written about our program."

Brian Holmes: This narrative of critical race theory, indoctrination, ideology, being taught in our schools, when you hear something like that, especially being put on the record at a Statehouse committee hearing, what do you think about that?

Brian Hunike: "I think it's a major distraction and disinformation. I don't know what other purpose there is. I think you could probably go to every single preschool in the whole state you're not going to find anything, you can go K-12 and you're not going to find anything, so I think it's just a major distraction."

Jamie Pilkerton: "It is hard to not take it personally. We have had so much success with our preschool program and we've been highlighted before because of the success of our program. It's over 20 years old, it is a homegrown local program, and to hear that is just - our teachers are very upset, because they feel like they are being accused of things that they are not doing."

Brian Holmes: What is it going to take, have we gotten to the point this year where people are saying, 'ok, we've been down that road' what's it going to take to change this and focus on something that actually is happening?

Jamie Pilkerton: "I would encourage people to talk with their local educators and talk with their schools and go seek out the information yourself. Any one of our parents can come in and have a conversation with us. If they want to look at the curriculum, I am happy to show them the curriculum."

Brian Hunike: "I would just encourage people to think about how they're being manipulated because they have to go to the source. We haven't had anybody, not anybody that's come and asked for curriculum. "

KTVB has reached out to Rep. Moon several times but has yet to receive a response.

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