Last week, Arizona Superintendent of Schools Tom Horne (R) announced that the state’s Department of Education launched an “Empower Hotline” for parents to report public school educators who are teaching students critical race theory, gender ideology, and other “inappropriate” lessons, KPNX-TV reported.
Democratic Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs responded to the announcement insisting that CRT is not taught in the state’s public schools.
“[Empower Hotline] is a tool that doesn’t need to exist. It’s just going to create further division,” Hobbs said. “Quite frankly, I think the superintendent is out of touch of what is really going on in our classrooms.”
Hobbs called for the department to focus more on providing classroom funding and hiring and retaining teachers.
On Thursday, Horne argued that CRT and gender ideology lessons are being taught in public schools and that educators must return to teaching core academic subjects, including reading, math, science, and history.
“Some say critical race theory (CRT) is a graduate study, not taught in K-12 schools,” Horne stated. “The evidence is to the contrary. I have a list of 250 Arizona teachers who signed a shocking statement promoted by the national teachers’ union, that if critical race theory were banned, they would defy the law. They would not have signed if they were not already teaching it. They come from 25 school districts, including the largest ones. Teachers must teach academics, not use their power over a captive audience, to promote their personal ideology. That is unprofessional conduct.”
“I believe we are all individuals, brothers and sisters under the skin, entitled to be judged by what we know, what we can do, our character, and ability to appreciate beauty,” Horne explained. “Race is irrelevant to anything. Critical race theory teaches the opposite, that race is primary. They divide students into ‘oppressors’ and ‘oppressed’ based on what race they were born into, which is irrational,” Horne added.
The hotline will be staffed during regular business hours, according to a Department of Education press release. Parents are encouraged to contact the department to report any “school lessons that detract from teaching academic standards.”
After a parent reports a teacher through the hotline, the department will launch an investigation.
Horne noted that he realizes there “could be false charges made” or “misunderstandings.” However, if the department finds the teacher has taught an inappropriate lesson, he or she will be encouraged to stop.
“In extreme cases, the state board would have the power to take away their certification. In which case, they would have to be terminated,” Horne explained.
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