Legislature sends bill to ban “critical race theory” in Arizona schools to Gov. Hobbs

Republicans who support this bill said critical race theory is a radical, leftist worldview harmful to our youth.
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 8:43 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2023 at 9:19 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A controversial “critical race theory” bill has now reached Governor Hobbs’ desk. Senate Bill 1305 would ban K-12 schools from teaching “critical race theory” to students and punish schools with a $5,000 fine per violation if they do.

There’s a high chance Gov. Hobbs will veto this. Critical race theory was used during this past election cycle as a huge point of contention in the education world. Republicans who support this bill said critical race theory is a radical, leftist worldview harmful to our youth. Those who disagree with the bill said the bottom line is: critical race theory is not being taught to Arizona students and doesn’t exist.

Republican Senator JD Mesnard has led the fight against critical race theory in the legislature. His senate bill that would ban it in K-12 schools is now on Governor Katie Hobbs’ desk.

“Critical race theory, as of now, though, is not taught in Arizona schools. Correct?” asked reporter Briana Whitney. “That would depend on who you ask. Some people say it’s not being taught, others say it’s being taught, it’s just history. I think that gets to the issue of why you need the legislation,” said Mesnard. “In my area in Chandler, I’m not aware of a specific example of 1-7 is that’s being taught in the bill, but I can’t speak what’s happening in the entire state.”

Mesnard said the bill has seven aspects that lay out egregious examples that all fall into what he calls critical race theory. “The bill is about racism and an ideological worldview that essentially defines people into either oppressor, oppressed, or marginalized or privileged based on the color of their skin,” said Mesnard.

If passed, schools could face up to a $5,000 fine per violation. Mesnard said the bill does not include teaching about slavery, Jim Crow laws, or other past historical events. But those on the other side of the aisle said this is a ridiculous bill. “This is all made up. This is to attack some of our curriculum as far as gender studies or African American and Hispanic Latinx studies,” said Lindsay Love, a former Chandler school board member, and social worker.

Love served four years on the Chandler school board and, for her social work grad degree, took critical race theory herself. She says here’s the reality: “Critical race theory that is a thing that is taught in graduate school and not at the k-12 level,” said Love.

While Mesnard said he wants to make sure what he calls inappropriate lesson plans are not included in the curriculum, Love said that’s just not what’s happening in our Arizona schools. “Now we have bad faith actors who believe that ‘diversity equity and inclusion’ initiatives are an attack on white males or white children,” said Love. “That’s disingenuous and not what’s going on.”

Now, this is up to Governor Hobbs. The Governor has vetoed 15 pieces of legislation, and many believe this will be number 16.