ARIZONA NEWS

Republican-controlled Arizona House votes to ban critical race theory in schools

Feb 4, 2022, 4:05 AM
(File Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)...
(File Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
(File Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted Thursday to put limits on teaching race and gender in schools, part of the GOP’s nationwide push to block diversity instruction they’ve termed “critical race theory.”

The measure is the latest front in the ever-evolving debate over how to teach U.S. history and reckon with racism in the nation’s past and present.

The measure would ban instruction that “promotes or advocates for any form of blame or judgment on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex.” It seeks to outlaw a list of concepts, including that a person should feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress” because of their race, ethnicity or sex.

House Republicans voted along party lines to send the measure to the Senate. Democrats said the measure would chill discussions about history and contemporary event s in the classroom because teachers will fear losing their jobs if they broach the subject of race.

“To love America is to learn all about their history both good and bad,” said Rep. Sarah Liguori, a Phoenix Democrat. “And if we sense our history and ignore today’s challenges, we will never live up to the ideals of liberty and justice for all.”

Critical race theory was until recently an obscure field of study, largely in law schools, about systemic racism. Republicans have weaponized the term ahead of the midterm elections as a catch-all for teachings about race, diversity, bias and privilege that they say fall outside the charge for public schools.

Lessons related to race and diversity have been on the rise alongside a broader acknowledgment that racial injustice didn’t end in America with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Those efforts have spurred a backlash, particularly among Republican voters.

“Disregarding parent concerns about what our children are learning is not going to work,” said Rep. Michelle Udall, a Republican from Mesa who sponsored the bill.

Republicans included a ban on critical race theory in the state budget last year, but it was among many new policies later thrown out by the Arizona Supreme Court. The justices found the Legislature’s practice of stuffing the budget with unrelated provisions was unconstitutional.

When the measure was considered in the House Education Committee on Wednesday, several GOP lawmakers were appalled to hear a parent’s description of a Bingo game encouraging middle school students to consider how their race, family support, income and other factors could give them a leg up against peers who face discrimination, a turbulent home life or trouble getting to school.

“My personal life should not be subject to a bingo game,” said Rep. Teresa Martinez, a Republican from Casa Grande. “The school has no right to ask if you have one parent, two parents, a gay parent, a brown parent, and are you white.”

Rep. Mitzi Epstein said some aspects of history, such as slavery and the Holocaust, are indeed shameful, and she worries the legislation would restrict teachers from saying so.

“To teach these things without blame or judgment would be wrong,” Epstein said.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone a podium...
SuElen Rivera

Maricopa County Sheriff Penzone says few responses from officials for election safety meeting

Paul Penzone said the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has received few responses following an announcement it will host a safety summit for elected officials and those seeking office on Thursday.
5 hours ago
(Mar-A-Lago and Kari Lake: AP Photos; Shipping container border wall: Twitter Photo/@DougDucey)...
Kevin Stone

Q&A with Arizona governor hopeful Kari Lake on Trump search warrant, border barrier, more

Here’s what Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for governor in Arizona, had to say about the FBI search at Mar-A-Lago, border barriers and more.
5 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/Pork on a Fork)...
KTAR.com

Pork on a Fork opens Chandler location after more than year of delays

The wait is over in Chandler for the debut of barbecue restaurant Pork on a Fork after more than a year of delays.
5 hours ago
(El Mirage Police Department Video Screenshot)...
SuElen Rivera

El Mirage police release video of elementary school lockdown

The El Mirage Police Department on Tuesday released body-worn camera footage of an elementary school lockdown where three people were arrested last week. 
1 day ago
(Pexels Photo)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix man gets 25 years in prison for sexual abuse of a child

A Phoenix man last week was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the sexual abuse of a child.
1 day ago
Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at an event touting a new universal school voucher progra...
Associated Press

Gov. Doug Ducey takes victory lap over Arizona school voucher plan

Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and backers of universal school vouchers took a victory lap Tuesday over legislation the Republican-controlled Legislature enacted in June.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Republican-controlled Arizona House votes to ban critical race theory in schools