AZ House bill limiting instruction on race advances with Horne's support

Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2023 - 2:20pm
Updated: Friday, February 3, 2023 - 3:13pm
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Tom Horne, Arizona’s new superintendent of public instruction, campaigned against the instruction of critical race theory in schools. Now in office, Horne’s throwing his support behind a bill that would keep teachers from talking about race in certain ways.

House Bill 2458 would prohibit a school district or charter school from teaching courses that “advocate ethnic solidarity” instead of treating people as individuals.

It’s similar to another law Horne supported more than a decade ago, which was later declared unconstitutional. On Tuesday, Horne testified in favor of this new bill before the House Education Committee.

“We are not exemplars of the race we happened to have been born into and race is entirely irrelevant to anything," Horne said. "We need to teach our students to treat each other as individuals and not pay attention to race or sexual orientation or anything else that has to do with their birth. Critical race theory teaches the opposite."

If a teacher is found to be in violation of HB 2458, they could face a fine of up to $5,000. 

Democrats like Rep. Nancy Gutierrez said they were concerned the threat of fines would hinder Arizona’s ability to recruit new teachers.

“Passing this bill will endanger quality teaching where all students feel seen and heard," she said. "We are a country that is so rich in culture, race and ethnicity. As a teacher, I have learned from my students that their race and ethnicity absolutely matters to them.”

Other lawmakers thought the issues raised should be handled at the local level, without state overreach. Republicans advanced the bill on a party-line vote.

Politics Education