This week, Arizona’s top education official launched a hotline for state residents to report K-12 curriculum and lessons they deem “inappropriate,” the Arizona Department of Education said in a press release.
Sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horn, “Empowerment hotline” allows residents to express their concerns about teaching materials that “deviate from learning standards”, including lessons that “focus on race or ethnicity rather than individuals and their merit, promote gender ideology and socio-emotional learning”, the department said in a statement. .
Horn, a Republican, toppled the incumbent Democrat last fall while working on a campaign platform to “combat critical race theory” and end the “liberal indoctrination” of schoolchildren, according to his campaign website. He previously served two terms in the position from 2003 to 2011 and was Attorney General of Arizona from 2011 to 2015.
“I have promised to create this hotline so that anyone can report inappropriate classes that take away precious minutes from students in core academic subjects such as reading, math, science, history and art. This promise is being kept,” Horn said in a statement.
Horn’s agenda has been criticized for placing unnecessary emphasis on political issues instead of focusing on other needs, such as adding more mental health services for students and shrinking class sizes.
Marisol Garcia, president of the Arizona Educational Association, told CNN she was “disappointed” that Horne did not work to “understand what’s going on” in Arizona schools, but instead promoted policies based on what she called “outlandish claims.” what he repeated during the campaign.
Garcia, who also teaches eighth grade social studies, said she would not change her curriculum because of the hotline, but feared inexperienced teachers would change their classes because of political pressure.
This is not the first time Arizona GOP lawmakers have tried to curb critical racial theory, which the Arizona Department of Education defines as “an ideology that can carry many different labels.” In 2021, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a law banning teachings that “blame or judge based on race,” but the law was later overturned by the state Supreme Court.
Most recently, a bill sponsored by Arizona GOP lawmakers to limit in-class lessons on race and ethnicity was vetoed Thursday by a Democratic governor. Katie Hobbs.
This follows a push by conservative politicians across the country to curb critical race theory and a classroom curriculum that teaches race and ethnicity through the lens of power and privilege.
Critical racial theory is based on the premise that racism is systemic in American society. According to CRT, racism is more than the result of individual bias; it is embedded in institutions, laws and policies, and this creates and maintains racial inequalities.
In January 2022, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia launched an email hint line for parents to report concerns about “separating concepts” being taught in the classroom. He also issued a decree banning critical racial theory from being part of the public school curriculum, although it was not included in Virginia’s teaching standards.
Eventually, in September 2022, the tip line was closed. Emails viewed by CNN raised concerns about institutionalized racism, wearing masks in schools, sharing opinions about the math curriculum, and one woman who said she wanted to fill a tip line. with positive comments.