Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoed a measure that would have prohibited instructing critical race theory in the state’s public schools.
Institutions could have been fined up to $5,000 for each violation if they were found to have violated the law and taught the racially divisive curriculum. The bill would have banned instruction that any race “is inherently morally or intellectually superior” to another.
The legislation cleared the House by a 31-29 vote and the Senate on a 16-12 vote before stalling in the governor’s mansion.
In a statement, Hobbs declared, “It is time to stop utilizing students and teachers in culture wars based on fear-mongering and unfounded accusations.” She claimed that “bills like SB1305 only serve to divide and antagonize.”
The Democrat urged state lawmakers to address “real issues” such as underfunding, educator retention, and infrastructure needs.
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) March 10, 2023
CRT preaches that the U.S. was founded on racism and instructs children to view all social interactions through the lens of race. It is a notoriously polarizing concept that has been thoroughly criticized and even banned in several Republican states.
GOP state senator J.D. Mesnard, who sponsored the anti-CRT measure, expressed his disappointment in the governor’s veto. “I’m deeply disheartened by Gov. Hobbs’ choice to condone these discriminatory teachings our kids are being exposed to, by vetoing my bill.”
He called her action “a slap in the face to parents who came forward with serious concerns about the racism being taught in their children’s classrooms.”
Proponents of the bill argued that they are not attempting to ban teaching about racism in a historical context. Rather, they oppose having a curriculum that pushes concepts to divide students by race.
House Education Committee Chair Rep. Beverly Pingerelli said that Hobbs’ veto sent a “disturbing message” to the children and parents of Arizona. She called CRT an “ugly, prejudicial ideology” that teaches a “distorted and destructive history and worldview.”
Pingerelli called for the end of such practices, whether implemented by state educators or companies such as Walt Disney. Elections do have consequences, and Hobbs’ victory put Arizona’s educational future on a treacherous path.