PHOENIX (LifeSiteNews) — Arizona’s Democrat Gov. Katie Hobbs has vetoed legislation that would have banned the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) in Arizona public schools, in the latest manifestation of consequences for her midterm victory last fall.
Senate Bill 1305 would have forbidden educators from teaching students to “[j]udg[e] an individual on the basis of the individual’s race or ethnicity”; that “one race or ethnicity group is inherently morally or intellectually superior to another race or ethnic group”; that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or ethnicity, is inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously”; that “an individual should be invidiously discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or ethnicity”; that “an individual’s moral character is determined by the individual’s race or ethnicity”; that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or ethnicity, bears responsibility or blame for actions committed by other members of the same race or ethnic group”; or that “academic achievement, meritocracy or traits such as hard work are racist or were created by members of a particular race or ethnic group to oppress members of another race or ethnic group.”
Violators would be subject to $5,000 fines for each violation, NBC 12 reports. Contrary to common media misrepresentations of such legislation, it would still allow teachers to discuss “racial hatred or discrimination, including slavery, Indian removal, the Holocaust, and Japanese-American internment.”
Yet Hobbs vetoed SB 1305 on the grounds that it would “divide and antagonize,” instead calling on the legislature to focus on “underfunded classrooms, a growing educator retention crisis, and school buildings in need of repair and replacement.”
“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,” responded Republican state Sen. J.D. Mesnard, the bill’s lead sponsor.
“Governor Hobbs’ veto sends a disturbing message that she is willing to allow racially divisive curriculum to be intentionally taught in Arizona classrooms,” added Republican state Rep. Beverly Pingerelli, who chairs the House Education Committee and sponsored the House version of SB 1305. “This sort of ugly, prejudicial ideology presents a distorted and destructive history and worldview that exacerbates racial tension and anxiety within our children and society. Whether it’s promoted in the classroom, or through programs from companies such as Disney, it’s wrong, and it must end.”
The bill was part of an ongoing movement to stem the influence of CRT in classrooms across the nation. CRT is a divisive academic doctrine holding that race is a “socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of color,” and that “racism is inherent in the law and legal institutions of the United States.” Critics say that in practice it breeds resentment rather than racial harmony.
More than a dozen states have imposed laws or executive actions restricting CRT in public schools, and 35 have at least proposed legislation on the subject. The issues of CRT and other types of indoctrination (particularly sexual) in taxpayer-funded education have in recent years fueled a parent backlash that has been credited with Republican gains in states like Florida and Virginia, whose current respective governors have taken leading roles on the issue.