Bill To Prohibit Critical Race Theory In K-12 Classrooms Passes In House Education Committee

classroom
Students at Borman Elementary School [Photo by Sivan Veazie via Creative Commons]

On Tuesday, the Arizona House Education Committee passed on a 6-4 vote, a bill that would prohibit public monies to be used for instruction that is based on many of the elements found in Critical Race Theory.

A previous version of this bill, HB2898, was struck down by a court as part of a lawsuit brought by the Arizona School Board Association on the grounds that it did not belong in a budget package. The lawsuit did not challenge merits of the bill itself.

Specifically, HB2112:

1. Prohibits a teacher, administrator or other employee of a school district, charter school or state agency who is involved with students and teachers in preschool through the 12th grade from:
a) Using public monies for instruction that presents any form of blame or judgment based on race, ethnicity or sex; and
b) Allowing instruction in or making part of a course any of the following concepts:
i. One race, ethnic group or sex is inherently morally or intellectually superior to another race, ethnic group or sex;
ii. An individual, by virtue of their race, ethnicity or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive;
iii. An individual should be invidiously discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of their race, ethnicity or sex;
iv. An individual’s moral character is determined by their race, ethnicity or sex;
v. An individual, by virtue of their race, ethnicity or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed by other members of the same race, ethnic group or sex;
vi. An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or psychological distress because of their race, ethnicity or sex; and
vii. Academic achievement, meritocracy or traits such as hard work ethic are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race, ethnic group or sex to oppress members of another race, ethnic group or sex.

The bill also “permits an attorney acting on behalf of a public school to request a legal opinion of the Attorney General (AG) or county attorney as to whether a proposed use of school district resources would violate the prohibition on specified instruction.”

As a result of the radical Mexican American Studies program in the Tucson Unified School District, legislation was previously passed that prohibits publicly funded school include in its program of instruction any courses that promote the overthrow of the United States government, promote resentment toward a race or class of people, are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group, or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.

Current statutes also provide that courses for Native American pupils that are required to comply with federal law, the grouping of students according to academic performance that may result in disparate impact by ethnicity, courses that include the history of any ethnic group and that are open to all students and courses that include the discussion of controversial aspects of history, may not be restricted or prohibited.

HB2112 is expected to pass the State House as its co-sponsors include the House Speaker, the Majority Leader Ben Toma, the Speaker Pro Tem Travis Grantham, and Michelle Udall, who is running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Having Udall on the bill is a strong indication that it will not be opposed by any of the House’s three liberal members (Udall, Joanne Osborne, and Joel John), as all three have been publicly rebuked by the County Republican Party for their bad voting records on education bills specifically. All three face tough 2022 election matchups and will want to improve their voting records before facing voters in the August 2nd primary election.

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