The last week of May, Republicans in the Arizona House revived their white Christian Nationalist cancel culture bill regarding anti-Critical Race Theory (CRT), something that not one of them can accurately define or demontrate that they understand.

For these white Christian Nationalists, anything that might make their little “snowflake” kids feel uncomfortable about America’s long sordid history of white supremacy is CRT, and it must be banned to protect their sensitive “snowflake’s” feelings, and to avoid their having to answer uncomfortable questions from ther kids that do not conform to their white supremacy beliefs.

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White Christian Nationalist Republicans want to cancel teaching America’s true history for an alternate reality history in which white Christian European immigrants are benevolent masters of manifest destiny in the promised land of America, as granted to them by God. An alternative history in which the genocide of Native Americans, and the enslavement of Africans does not exist. An alternative history in which a century of American apartheid Jim Crow racial segregation does not exist. Simply erase minorities from history and make white Christian European immigrants the “good guys,” the heroes of our story.

More importantly, teachers cannot teach current events, like the white supremacist teenager with a manifesto and who livestreamed his mass shooting of  Black Americans in a Buffalo grocery store, demonstrating that white supremacy is not just a part of America’s distant past but is all too alive and well (and ascendant in the GQP) today.

E.J. Montini of The Republic writes, Revived Republican bill to gag Arizona’s classroom teachers is race baiting in reverse:

It is unclear at times whether the Republicans who control the Arizona Legislature believe that the mothers and fathers of school-age children in our state are terrible parents, or if they’re just plain stupid.

Or both.

The revival of Senate Bill 1412 (pay wall) tilts toward the latter.

SB 1412 was originally a bill about baccalaureate degrees; substitute certificates, and passed in the Senate. But a Strike Everything Amendment from white Christian Nationalist Rep. Michelle Udall was approved in the House Approppriations Committee to revive her Anti-Anti-Racism bill, HB 2112, which passed the House but has not even had a second read in the Senate. The House then approved the Strike Everything Amendment version of SB 1412 on a party line vote with every Republican House member voting for it, and sent the bill back over to the Senate.

Have I mentioned that Rep. Michelle Udall, a Mesa Republican, is running for state superintendent of public instruction. God save us from such a fate!

The bill, which originated in the House, is meant to appease unnecessarily worried parents whom GOP lawmakers apparently believe are too dumb to recognize that the proposal does, essentially, nothing.

SB 1412 is designed to promote the false narrative that teachers are indoctrinating students with bad information and a sense of ethnic or racial guilt.

Neither of these things is true.

And even if they were, the revised bill doesn’t do anything to fix it, and instead would create a bureaucratic nightmare for school administrators and others.

2 reasons why the bill has conflicting language

The bill says a teacher can’t promote the notion of “blame or judgment on the basis of race or ethnicity.”

It says teachers can’t claim that “an individual by virtue of the individual’s race or ethnicity is inherently racist or oppressive” or that an individual “bears responsibility for actions committed by other members of the same race or ethnic group.”

Then again, the bill also says that it does not preclude teaching about “historical moments, ideologies or instances of racial hatred or discrimination, including but not limited to slavery, Indian removal, the Holocaust or Japanese-American internment.”

There are only two reasons to commit such seemingly conflicting language to an actual piece of legislation.

Lawmakers either believe parents are not conversant enough to properly enlighten their children on matters of racial or ethnic prejudice, or those same parents are too feebleminded to recognize that the bill solves nothing.

Or both.

Lose their license for talking about Buffalo?

Beth Lewis, a teacher and director of Save Our Schools Arizona, noting that the bill was revived during the week of the massacre of schoolchildren in Texas, said, “This is tone-deaf. This is abhorrent to bring this bill that polices teachers and does nothing to help our students in a week like this.”

If a student or parent believes the law has been violated, a complaint can be filed. Teachers found in violation could lose their licenses.

This is weaponizing all those School Board meeting disruptions we saw earlier this year. There are well-funded right-wing organizations which will provide the lawyers and pay for the lawsuits to promote their white Chrisitian Nationalist agenda.

I can’t imagine any teacher saying that children today bear responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or ethnic group. But while none of us is responsible for racist actions or policies from the past, are we not responsible for righting any lingering wrongs?

Would you not want our schools to reinforce that with our young people?

If SB 1412 becomes law, could a teacher get into trouble for violating the prohibition against “any form of blame or judgment based on race, ethnicity or sex” by pointing out, for instance, that the shooter charged with killing 10 people and injuring three others in Buffalo not long ago was motivated by the racist “replacement theory”?

Does gagging school teachers work?

What if one student in the teacher’s class – or a parent hearing of the class secondhand – came to believe that teacher violated the law?

How long would it take to adjudicate such a complaint?

Would teachers’ careers be at risk from politically motivated parents, administrators and boards?

Does gagging teachers ever work?

The point of SB 1412 is not to correct a problem because a problem does not exist.

Instead, the bill manufactures a crisis and tries to convince GOP voters that their lawmakers are fixing it.

It is unclear whether the Republicans who control the Arizona Legislature are doing this because they believe the mothers and fathers of school-age children in our state are terrible parents, or if they’re just plain stupid.

Or both.

Dillon Rosenblatt adds at the Arizona Mirror, GOP ‘critical race theory’ ban would outlaw teaching about the alleged Buffalo shooter’s racist motivations:

Teachers should not be allowed to explain to their students that the mass murder in a Buffalo grocery story this month was allegedly committed by a white supremacist who targeted and killed Black people in a largely Black neighborhood — and legislation approved Wednesday by Republicans would punish teachers who mentioned that.

Mesa Republican state Rep. Michelle Udall said it would “not be appropriate” to explain the motives behind those deaths in Arizona classrooms. And legislation she championed, Senate Bill 1412, would bar educators from teaching that casts “blame based on race, ethnicity or sex” in all Arizona public schools. That, she said, would include instruction on what happened in Buffalo.

“If a teacher can’t teach (history) without placing blame or judgment on the basis of race, they shouldn’t be teaching,” Udall said during debate of the bill in the Arizona House of Representatives.

Teachers who violate that would face discipline from the State Board of Education, and school districts could be fined up to $5,000.

The proposal would apply to K-12 schools, community colleges and Arizona’s three universities: Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. It would also seemingly apply to guest speakers at any school and limit things like anti-racism training for teachers and school employees.

Republicans portrayed the bill as a way to ensure racist teachers can’t teach in Arizona classrooms. But the measure is part of an effort by Republicans to stamp out so-called “critical race theory” in public schools.

The legislation is one of several measures introduced in Arizona this year to capitalize on a nationwide GOP movement to demonize critical race theory — a high-level field of academic study about the ways in which racism has become embedded in various aspects of society — and turn it into a catchall term for various race-related teachings, including instruction on “white privilege” and “anti-racism” curriculum.

There is no evidence that critical race theory is being taught in Arizona K-12 schools — or even most college classrooms.

A similar law was approved last year as part of the budget, but the Arizona Supreme Court ruled it and many other provisions were unconstitutionally shoehorned into the annual spending plan in order to get the necessary votes from 16 Republican senators and 31 GOP representatives.

Democrats warned that SB1412 would only exacerbate the years-long teacher shortage in Arizona. Rep. Judy Schwiebert, a Phoenix Democrat who is a former teacher, said it would “have the effect of driving those valuable teachers from our classroom.” And in the wake of the May 24 mass shooting at a Texas elementary school that claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers, policymakers should be working to thank teachers and make their jobs easier, she said.

Udall, a teacher who is running to be the state superintendent of schools, brushed off criticism from Democrats and said the goal of barring instruction that a racial or ethnic group was inherently superior is to ensure racist teachers aren’t teaching racism to children.

“I would like the members here to imagine what would happen if one of us was advocating for one of those things. We would probably get expelled from the body advocating for those kinds of concepts,” she explained.

BUT YOU ARE advocating white Christian Nationalism – white supremacy – and every one of your GQP House colleagues just voted for it. You won’t call it buy its name, and speak in coded language to the GQP base with a wink and a nod, and hope that nobody calls you out for it. You have just been called out, lady. And I agree with you that every one of you  should be “expelled from the [House for]  advocating for those kinds of concepts.”

[But] recent history proves otherwise. In 2018, former GOP Rep. David Stringer made a series of racist comments about immigrants and Black people and racist columns he wrote for the online news outlet he published were uncovered. While some prominent Republicans, including Gov. Doug Ducey, swiftly called on him to resign, his legislative colleagues were loath to punish him, much less expel him.

In early 2019, Stringer resigned after it became clear that his GOP colleagues would vote to expel him — but that only happened after the Phoenix New Times reported that he was charged with sex offenses involving young boys in Maryland in the early 1980s.

And this year, Republican legislators have shown they are unwilling to remove their colleagues for espousing racist and antisemitic views. State Sen. Wendy Rogers, a Flagstaff Republican, spoke to a white nationalist convention in February and posted antisemitic comments and images on social media. But she was only censured by the Senate — and only for threatening retribution against her GOP colleagues.

After the Buffalo shooting, Rogers invoked a racist meme and accused the federal government of carrying out the shooting. She is facing an ethics investigation into her claim — which Republicans only backed after they rejected an attempt by Democrats to expel her.

Scottsdale Republican Rep. John Kavanagh took issue with Democrats “misrepresenting” the bill, claiming it “bans the promotion or advocacy of seven vile racist actions,” but not any explanation that comes along with uncomfortable topics that may come up in the classroom.

“We’re simply stopping people from advocating. We’re stopping white supremacists from teaching our children, Black supremacists or anybody who believes that race or ethnicity make somebody less of a person or more of a person,” he said.

Riiight. This sidekick to the recalled and disgraced Sen. Russell Pearce, of SB 1070 infamy, was a cosponsor of every single racist anti-immigrant bill by Pearce.  He was also “anti-trans” before it was cool in the GQP this year. Kavanagh championed Cathi Herrod’s “show me your papers to pee” bill in 2013 that failed. Kavanagh also championed Arizona’s Religious Bigotry bill, SB 1062, in 2014 which was vetoed by Governor Brewer. He has no credibility on this issue.

Russell Pearce is gone. Joe Arpaio is gone. Andrew Thomas is gone. Past time for John Kavanagh to go.

The bill eventually passed 31-27. The bill was amended in the House, so it must return to the Senate for a final vote. If it wins approval on that vote, Ducey will decide whether it becomes law.

Ducey, who mentioned banning critical race theory as a priority [a nonexistent problem is a priority?] in his State of the State address in January, is expected to sign it into law if it reaches his desk.

But an unlikely hero has emerged, Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale. GOP ban on ‘critical race theory’ in AZ schools poised to fall 1 vote short:

A Republican bill to ban so-called “critical race theory” does not have enough votes to proceed.

Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale, told the Arizona Mirror he will vote against it if it reaches the Senate floor because he was against a last-minute amendment in the House.

“I’ve told them since last year on the K-12 side that the punishment should be to the district and never the teacher,” Boyer said, referring to fines or loss of certification teachers could potentially face if found in violation.

This doesn’t sound like a definite “No” vote to me. This sounds like “I’m only asking for an amendment,” or a horse trade for his expanded school voucher bills that also do not have the votes.

The Arizona House of Representatives passed the measure last week by a 31-27 vote after a heated debate during which the bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Michelle Udall, R-Mesa, said she didn’t think it would be appropriate to explain the motives behind Buffalo shooting in Arizona classrooms.

The latest iteration of this bill — dubbed by critics as the anti-Critical Race Theory bill — is Senate Bill 1412, and it would bar educators from teaching that casts “blame based on race, ethnicity or sex” in all Arizona public schools. That, Udall said, would include instruction on what happened in Buffalo this month, where a white supremacist allegedly targeted and killed Black shoppers in a grocery story.

“If a teacher can’t teach (history) without placing blame or judgment on the basis of race, they shouldn’t be teaching,” she said during the debate.

Teachers who violate that would face discipline from the State Board of Education — including the prospect of losing their certification to teach — and school districts could be fined up to $5,000.

Critical Race Theory is a high-level field of academic study about the ways in which racism has become embedded in various aspects of society — and turn it into a catchall term for various race-related teachings, including instruction on “white privilege” and “anti-racism” curriculum.

There is no evidence that it is being taught in Arizona K-12 schools — or even most college classrooms.
A similar law was approved last year as part of the budget, but the Arizona Supreme Court ruled it and many other provisions were unconstitutionally shoehorned into the annual spending plan in order to get the necessary votes from 16 Republican senators and 31 GOP representatives.

Given lawmakers would not be able to pass it the same way this year, it’s all but certain that the bill will fail without Boyer’s support, as Republicans in each legislative chamber hold the majority by only a single vote.

Boyer’s opposition has doomed many other bills this year, and he said most of them fail on the floor because his GOP colleagues don’t check to see if they have enough votes.

Nobody counts around here,” he said.

This is legislative malpractice.

The numbers seem to bear that out, as an inordinate number of bills have died on the Senate floor this year. So far, 39 bills have been rejected in votes of the full Senate, the most since 41 bills died on the floor in 2006. The current record is 66 in 1998.

Kim Quintero, a spokeswoman for the Senate Republicans, said Senate President Karen Fann won’t put bills up until she knows that it has the votes, and said she believed the 16 needed votes existed when she put the 39 failed bills up for a vote.

“I believe she was under the impression she had the votes, then those bills ended up not playing out,” she told the Mirror.




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