(The Center Square) – Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs is considering a bill that would, as sponsors say, prevent schools from teaching critical race theory.
Senate Republicans voted 16-14 to pass SB 1305 to prevent racially biased education plans. They sent Hobbs the bill Monday.
The bill, sponsored by State Senator J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, seeks to establish a legal basis to prevent the teaching of critical race theory, a civil rights theory that argues for the existence of white privilege and systemic racism.
CRT has caused an uproar on both sides of the aisle, with many school board meetings turning into heated debates not just in Arizona, but across the country.
“This section does not prevent an employee…from identifying and discussing historical movements, ideologies or instances of racial hatred or discrimination, including slavery, Indian removal, the holocaust and Japanese-American internment,” the bill reads.
The legislation is identical to HB 2458, which passed from the House on Feb. 21
Critics argue the theory teaches that America is a country established upon racism, and presents a message of divisiveness to vulnerable students. Those in favor of CRT fear that a ban would prevent candid conversation about racism.
“Teaching about historical movements, ideologies or instances of racial hatred and discrimination, including slavery and Jim Crow, are absolutely legitimate and sensible topics of study in the classroom,” Sen. Mesnard said. “However, pushing a destructive and racist ideology has no place in our schools. More and more parents are expressing concern over this issue, and we must ensure we nip this in the bud now before the damage is done on our impressionable youth.”
Former Gov. Doug Ducey signed a similar bill, HB 2906, July 2021.
The bill “prohibits state and local governments from requiring their employees to undergo orientation, training or therapy that suggests an employee is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”