Here we go again.

For the second time in two years, the Republicans in the Arizona State Legislature have voted on a bill (SB1412 in this session) which would fine teachers $5000 for teaching controversial subjects that members of one race feel are attempts to shame them into guilt for the sins of the past.

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This afternoon, the Arizona House, with only Republican votes, passed this shameful bill and has returned its amended form back to the State Senate.

During the debate, Democratic House Members like Jennifer Pawlik, Jennifer Longdon, Sarah Liguori, and Leader Reginald Bolding, gave powerful arguments against SB1412.

 

Representative Pawlik pointed out that this bill will only aggravate the lingering problem of teacher recruitment and retention, saying, “we are making it so difficult for teachers who want to be teachers. We are making it so difficult for them to stay in the classroom…We have got to return to trusting our teachers. This bill does not trust our teachers. It sabotages them.”

State Representative Sarah Liguori called this legislation, a repudiation of the no where used in public schools Critical Race Theory (CRT,) the result of right wing propaganda “devised by a man in Seattle in July, 2020…” that found a home in the pundits and white nationalists at Fox News and the Trump White House. Representative Liguori went further, denouncing the latest Republican conspiracy farce, the Great Replacement Theory, saying both “were born from Fox News, born are racially motivated as political ideologies, to guise white supremacy. One of these is harming our children and CRT is not that one…I don’t think we should waste all of our time on this culture war that’s meant to divide us and sow hate instead of letting us focus on the issues that the public wants us to…”

https://twitter.com/AZHouseDems/status/1529585450708389889

Representative Longdon, a victim of gun violence, eloquently spoke on the need to stop wasting time on issues like SB1412 that do not matter to the great majority of Grand Canyon State residents and instead focus on legislation that the majority of Arizonans support like common sense gun control. She offered:

“I protest that we have spent today talking about everything except what most of Arizona wants us to talk about and that’s the issue of gun violence…This is the only place on Earth where this (mass shootings) routinely happens. The difference (between the United States and other developed countries) is our unfettered access to firearms…If you knew a mass shooting was going to occur at your child’s school what would you be willing to do to prevent it? Anything. Everything. Why then are we not doing anything and everything we can to address the public health crisis of gun violence?”

Democratic Leader Bolding applauded Longdon’s words, powerfully talked about the lives robbed by the gunman in Texas yesterday, and called on the House to consider background checks instead of SB1412. He commented:

“To vote here today on bills about teachers. To question teacher’s commitments to their kids when yesterday a teacher lost their life (actually two lost their lives,) I can only imagine how our parents, our kids, and our teachers feel to hear this story day after day…We have an opportunity…to try to do something…I would encourage us to find a way to do something together in this moment. To take a step forward…”

In an earlier exchange with House Education Committee Chair (and Superintendent of Public Instruction Candidate) Michelle Udall, Mr. Bolding asked if it would be appropriate to discuss the racist motivations behind the Buffalo shootings last week with students. Ms. Udall indicated probably not.

This is the person that wants to be in charge of shaping Arizona’s children’s minds. Voters should think about that when they cast their ballots this year.

Republicans do not like Being told they are Wrong

During the debate on SB 1412, the Republican members tried to stifle the Democratic process by trying to silence Democratic House member Judy Schwiebert and having members of the group Save Our Schools Arizona thrown out of the House Gallery for standing up and vocally supporting Schwiebert.

Yes readers. It Can and Is Happening Here. 

SOS Arizona Leader Beth Lewis posted:

Later, in response to a request for comment from Blog for Arizona, Ms. Lewis stated:

“Today, the AZ House passed SB1412, an egregious attack on teachers that will prevent the accurate and truthful teaching of history, and silence classroom conversations. The striker bill sponsored by Rep. Udall (R-25) seeks to divide communities, encouraging parental complaints and threatening massive $5,000 fines for teachers.
The Arizona legislature should be discussing how to protect our children from gun violence today. Instead, lawmakers are reviving long-stalled teacher attack bills. This is tone deaf and abhorrent. Our children need protection from school shootings, not protection from the teaching of truthful history.”

It was really tasteless and insensitive for Republicans, the day after a school shooting, to bring up a bill  that states teachers can be fined up to $5,000 if they do not teach the Birth of a Nation or Man in the High Castle version of American History.

Furthermore, children, in addition to being denied learning a little thing called historical truth and perspective, may also lose out on opportunities to earn college credit if the College Board deems this new law interferes too much with its scope and sequence for its Advanced Placement History classes. Dual Credit courses with community colleges can be jeopardized as well because they will not stray from teaching what white nationalists and fringe right wingers are afraid will be taught.

This move by the Republicans is folly.

For a Democracy to thrive, its citizens need to be well versed in what has happened in history.

This bill does not do that and voters need to elect public servants that believe in protecting Democracy through preserving voter rights and providing for a well rounded history education in all public schools.

Otherwise, we will not be a Democracy very much longer.

 

 

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