Valid concerns received from parents and teachers
PHOENIX – Complaints submitted to the Arizona Department of Education through the Empower Hotline have revealed potential violations to state law and demonstrate that elements of Critical Race Theory are present in the public school system.
Superintendent Tom Horne said, “Despite those in ideological groups and some in the media that propagate the urban myth that CRT is not a part of the school system, we have evidence from the empower hotline, that there is enough CRT in our schools to constitute a problem, though it is obviously not universal. We also have evidence that schools have put systems in place to hide or attempt to hide critical personal information from parents about their child. This is in direct violation of Arizona law, A.R.S. §1-602.”
He explained, “For example, Mesa is our largest district. A teacher reported through the hotline that the Mesa school district has a training program for teachers that clearly states that certain Americans are ‘living under a system of white supremacy.’ That is a divisive and bigoted statement that has no place in education. We are individuals, entitled to be judged by what we know, what we can do, our character, and not the color of our skin. To its credit, Mesa is in discussion with the Department about this.”
Other concerns raised include a spreadsheet distributed in the Catalina Foothills school district with a list of pronouns chosen by students. The email and attached file clearly show the school withholding information from parents contrary to A.R.S. §1-602.
In the Chandler Unified School District, a lunch time Gay-Straight Alliance Club was created to discuss gender issues but also included the distribution of emancipation paperwork, which a parent only knew ab out because parents found it in their students backpack. Both of the above are examples of activity contrary to Arizona law.
Since its launch in March, the Empower Hotline allows parents to report inappropriate content being taught 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.
Horne added, “Since its inception earlier this year, ADE has been compiling information regarding inappropriate activity occurring in Arizona schools through the Empower Hotline. These complaints have come not just from concerned parents but also from teachers. When parents saw during COVID what students were being taught on their laptop, they were outraged by CRT content, and went to school board meetings, where some were treated rudely. The Employer Hotline directs them to a method to communicate their concerns.
Horne added: “30,000 crank calls and emails do not intimidate us or keep us from doing our job.”
Raising academic outcomes for students in the public schools and empowering parents to ensure that the educational needs of their children are being appropriately met, are the priorities of Superintendent Horne. All legitimate complaints received through the Empower Hotline will continue to be accepted and investigated.