Gov. Hobbs vetoes bill banning ‘critical race theory’ in Arizona schools

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed the anti-critical race theory bill, saying she will dismiss bills based on false narratives.
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 11:20 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2023 at 5:45 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs has vetoed a controversial education bill that would ban public K-12 schools from teaching “critical race theory” to students with a punishable fine. Thursday morning, she sent the following statement to Sen. Warren Petersen, president of the state senate:

As the Associated Press reported, “Critical race theory is a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism. Scholars developed it during the 1970s and 1980s in response to what they viewed as a lack of racial progress following the civil rights legislation of the 1960s.”

Much of the controversy lies with conservatives and some Republicans disagreeing with the idea that systemic racism is present in our society. Some GOP lawmakers have balked at this material as “indoctrination” based on radical “leftist ideas” that they claim are un-American and anti-White.

The proposed law itself is pretty straightforward. In essence, staff can’t teach one race or ethnicity is better than the other, one race is inherently racist, a race or ethnicity is superior to others, moral character is determined by race, and race guilt, among other similar content. Sen. J.D. Mesnard, the bill’s sponsor, says there are seven aspects laid out egregious examples that fall into what he calls critical race theory. But he himself, told Arizona’s Family this week that he wasn’t aware of any specific examples of schools in his district teaching CRT. He issued the following statement following the veto:

Regarding SB1305, educators who would have violated the proposed law would face possible penalties, including a $5,000 fine. However, opponents of the bill say that bill is unconstitutional or that the content isn’t being taught in public education but is a topic discussed in a broader context within higher education, in places like history and sociology classes in colleges and colleges and universities.

In addition, the AP reports that “there is little to no evidence that critical race theory itself is being taught to K-12.” However, some lessons on race and culture have been controversial and linked to theory. In one instance, some middle schoolers in Connecticut were given a “white bias” survey that parents viewed as part of the theory, the AP reported.

“Critical race theory; that is a thing that is taught in graduate school and not at the K-12 level,” Lindsay Love, a former Chandler school board member and social worker, told Arizona’s Family earlier this month.

State Democrat lawmakers, like Rep. Laura Terech, told Arizona’s Family that the bill would negatively impact teacher recruitment in our state. “This will have a chilling impact on teacher recruitment, which is already at an absolute crisis level in our state,” she said at the time. “We are making life harder and harder on Arizona teachers.”

This now marks Hobbs’ 16th veto.