Arizona House passes critical race theory ban across schools, universities, and government

Arizona state House passed two bills Wednesday banning all public employees from teaching critical race theory in schools, universities, and government. Now, those who teach this banned curriculum will be fined $5,000.

Rep. Jake Hoffman “pulled no punches” on his floor speech leading up to the vote on SB-1532, calling a curriculum that perpetuates critical race theory “morally reprehensible and worthy of our society’s strongest condemnation.” He also sponsored SB-1074, which went the extra step in banning public employees from teaching the theory.

But opponents of the bills, all Democrats, called it them “teacher gag bills.” Rep. Jennifer Pawlik pointed at the already decreasing number of teachers in the state. Across the state, 1,728 teaching positions are unfilled. “Will this cause more teachers to leave the profession?” she asked the floor.

Rep. Aaron Lieberman voted against the bill. “We need to trust teachers, not gag them!” Lieberman said in a floor speech.

However, Hoffman assured his fellow legislators that teachers will still be able to teach facts. There is nothing in the bill banning “factual inequity,” like the history of slavery in this country. Instead, the bill bans concepts like “one race or sex is inherently superior” or “an individual by virtue of the individual’s race or sex is inherently privileged, racist or oppressive.”

“America is not racist,” Hoffman said, echoing Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and President Biden’s statements from earlier this week. “The state of Arizona should not use precious tax payer resources to teach racism to public employees period.”

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