State superintendent cancels educator seminars on social emotional learning, racial trauma

The Arizona Department of Education says they are canceling toping having nothing to do with "core academics." Educators disagree.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 6:40 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne stirred up controversy at a statewide teacher’s conference this week by canceling several planned presentations. They included seminars on social-emotional learning, diversity and racial trauma. Michaela Rose Claussen, who is a former teacher, was supposed to speak at the conference and said her presentation touched on helping students regulate their emotions. “To really think about how we understand compassion, fatigue, and burnout,” said Claussen. “When students have time to self regulate, ‘why am I feeling this way? What can I do about it? How can I act as a better student? Then I am more well equipped to learn for the day,’” said Claussen.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Education said those topics had nothing to do with “core academics” and were replaced with presentations focused on improving test scores. “Almost every day, the Dept. of Education hears from teachers who want to use class time to teach core subjects like reading, science, history and math,” said spokesman Doug Nick.

Horne has promised to eliminate social-emotional learning, critical race theory and bilingual education. This comes following controversy in 2018 when he held the same position. A federal judge ruled that Horne was “motivated by racial animus” when he banned Mexican-American studies from classrooms.