Critical race theory returns to forefront for Arizona lawmakers

House Bill 2458 seeks to control what teachers can and cannot discuss in public schools.
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 8:09 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Critical race theory is back at the Arizona State Legislature.

“I want to first express that I hope we can have a reasoned and thoughtful discussion today free of any name-calling,” said House Education Chair Beverly Pingerelli, a Republican from District 28.

The subject dominated the House Education Committee’s discussion Tuesday afternoon over House Bill 2458. which deals with what teachers can and cannot discuss in public schools.

A similar bill was voted down last year by one vote, so some language was changed in this bill to make it more palatable,

Although for some members, it certainly was not.

“At a time when we should be discussing how to incentivize qualified teachers in our classroom, we are instead focused on a bill that threatens them with vague rules,” said Judy Schweibert, a Democrat from District 2. “It would punish them for discussing an accurate history because it might hurt somebody’s feelings.”

Under the bill, there are seven areas where teachers would need to tread lightly because if they violate the rules, they could be fined or lose their teaching license.

“I worry that passage of a bill like this will impact our profession long term,” said former teacher and District 13 Democrat Jennifer Pawlik. “I think young people will be less likely to want to come into the classroom to teach because they know everything they do is going to looked at with a fine tooth comb.”

Under the bill, any student or any parent can file a complaint against a teacher if they believe they are violating the rules, even though those very rules are quite vague.

Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne attended the hearing and expressed support for the bill.

“Everyone who voted for me knows I was against critical race theory because my supporters and I put up 1,500 signs that said stop critical race theory,” he said. “I believe that is one of the reasons I defeated an incumbent in a year a number of republicans lost. The parents spoke.”

As did the education committee where six Republicans voted yes, and four Democrats voted no.