Republican Statewide Official Launches New Hotline, And Katie Hobbs Is Going to Absolutely Hate It
Arizona centrists who voted for Democrat Katie Hobbs in last fall’s gubernatorial race might have had a flash of buyer’s remorse when the new governor vetoed a bill that would prohibit the teaching of critical race theory in public schools.
Thanks to the state’s Republican superintendent of public instruction, however, they’ll have a hotline to complain about problematic material being pushed on their children in the classroom — literally.
Superintendent Tom Horne just launched the “Empower Hotline,” allowing parents to report propagandizing in the classroom directly to the state Department of Education.
They can do so via phone at 602-771-3500 or email at email@example.com.
“It’s time to get people to focus on teaching the academics,” Horne said, according to KPNX-TV.
In a news release March 9, the Department of Education said the hotline was launched “so that Arizonans can report inappropriate public school lessons that detract from teaching academic standards.”
“These include those that focus on race or ethnicity, rather than individuals and merit, promoting gender ideology, social emotional learning, or inappropriate sexual content,” it said.
The hotline launched the same day that Hobbs, as expected, vetoed the anti-CRT bill, SB 1305.
“It is time to stop utilizing students and teachers in culture wars based on fearmongering and unfounded accusations. Bills like SB1305 only serve to divide and antagonize,” she said in a veto letter, according to KTAR-FM.
GOP state Sen. J.D. Mesnard, the anti-CRT bill’s sponsor, called the veto “a slap in the face to parents.”
“I’m deeply disheartened by Gov. Hobbs’ choice to condone these discriminatory teachings our kids are being exposed to, by vetoing my bill,” Mesnard said in a statement.
“As lawmakers,” he said, “we are called to protect the vulnerable, including impressionable and innocent kids.
“Her action today is a slap in the face to parents who came forward with serious concerns about the racism being taught in their children’s classrooms.”
Hobbs claims that critical race theory isn’t being taught in Arizona’s classrooms, although Horne begs to differ.
“Some say critical race theory (CRT) is a graduate study, not taught in K-12 schools. The evidence is to the contrary,” he said in the news release.
“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,” the superintendent said. “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 promised to establish this hotline so that anyone could report the teaching of inappropriate lessons that rob students of precious minutes of instruction time in core academic subjects such as reading, math, science, history and the arts. That promise is being kept.”
Horne acknowledged that reports would require investigation, considering the potential for misuse of the hotline.
“There could be false charges made,” he said. “People could have vendettas or misunderstandings.”
However, should the teacher have been found to have strayed from the curriculum for political purposes, there would be interventions, up to and including license terminations.
“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 said.
Hobbs, you might not be shocked to learn, is also nonplussed about the hotline.
“This is a tool that … doesn’t need to exist, and it’s just going to create further division,” Hobbs said during a March 9 news briefing, according to KPNX. “I quite frankly think the superintendent is out of touch of what is really going on in our classrooms.”
OK, then. So critical race theory and divisive political propaganda aren’t being pushed in Arizona’s classrooms, according to Hobbs. But she also said the hotline will create “further division,” even though it’s unnecessary.
But if there’s nothing to be reported — since, after all, Arizona’s public schools are sticking to the curriculum, the whole curriculum and nothing but the curriculum, according to Hobbs — then she has nothing to fear.
A silent hotline — or one that’s only used by cranks to take out vendettas — will have no effect. If anything, Horne will be the one with egg on his face.
The truth is that, just like most of the Democratic Party, Hobbs doesn’t mind if leftist educators push ideology on their charges. If critical race theory is being taught in Arizona’s classrooms, so be it.
It’s yet another reminder that, had centrist Arizonan voters not bought into fear-mongering about GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake by the national media, who branded her a far-right election “denier,” the anti-CRT bill would be law and none of this would be necessary.
As it stands, however, the Empower Hotline is a step in the right direction — and one we hope more state-level Republicans will consider employing.
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