The Arizona Department of Education informed Arizonians in a press release on Saturday that they now have the ability to report K-12 class curriculum and lessons that they deem “inappropriate,” using the hotline that Arizona’s top education official launched last week.
The “Empower Hotline” championed by Tom Horne, Arizona’s Superintendent for Public Instruction, allows state residents to voice their concerns about classroom materials that “detract from teaching standards.”
These, as the department said, include lessons that promote gender ideology and social-emotional learning and focus on race or ethnicity rather than individuals and merit.
Horne, a Republican, reiterated in the press release his promise to establish a hotline so that anyone could report inappropriate lessons that rob students of precious minutes of instruction time in core academic subjects, noting he is keeping that promise.
Previously serving two terms in the position from 2003 to 2011 and as Arizona attorney general from 2011 to 2015, Horne unseated the Democratic incumbent last fall.
According to his campaign website, he was running on a campaign platform of fighting critical race theory and preventing the liberal indoctrination of schoolchildren, but his agenda has been criticized for not focusing on students’ needs such as adding more mental health services for them and trimming class sizes.
This isn’t the first instance of GOP lawmakers attempting to curb critical race theory, which is based on the premise that racism is more than the result of individual prejudice and that is systemic in American society.
Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin similarly launched last January an email tip line for parents to report if “divisive concepts” are being taught in the classroom after previously banned CRT from being part of the public school curriculum.
Although some of the Virginians’ emails were raising concerns about institutionalized racism, the tip line was eventually shuttered in September 2022.