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Two bills targeting teachers pass through Arizona state legislature

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) — The Arizona House paused election laws to pass education bills, those that directly target teachers.

The first was SB1211, which requires teachers to post their curriculum, including books, textbooks, videos and the like, at least seven days before the start of the school year, a move Republicans call adding transparency for parents, but other lawmakers say it stifles teachers.

“I know right now Arizona is bleeding teachers not just because of low salaries,” said Democrat Judy Schweibert, a 27-year-old teacher, “but because of a culture of disrespect for teachers”.

But Republicans, who passed the out-of-committee bill by an 8-5 vote, say it’s a lack of confidence that worries them.

“There are things that are about parents right now in public schools,” said Jake Hoffman, a Republican from District 12. “SEL, CRT, CSE, are about parents who are against their values.”

The most controversial of these is CRT, Critical Race Theory, which is not taught in schools but which the GOP has targeted anyway.

“Let’s be clear about what this bill is,” said Lorenzo Sierra, a Democrat from District 19. “It’s a self-made crisis that exists in a few.”

SB1412 also passed the Appropriations Committee by an 8-5 vote along party lines.

Schweibert said that in his many years of teaching, at many teacher-parent nights, no parent ever bothered to show up. Teachers already have an open door policy where parents can find out more about their students’ program if they wish, she said.

Even some Republicans questioned the bills but voted for them anyway.

“I don’t believe the overwhelming majority is doing anything in terms of crazy content or questionable content,” said John Kavanagh, a Republican from District 23. “But there is.”

For this reason, Kavanagh thinks the education bills make sense, but the minority opinion on the committee was that it will prevent teachers from teaching a broad and varied curriculum.

Any of those teachers caught teaching something that concerns parents and found in violation could cost the school district $5,000 per violation.

“It just seems like it’s opening up a really big area where a parent feels like something is making their child feel bad and blaming the teacher,” said Kelli Butler, a Democrat for District 28. that this bill cannot open that kind of door.

“Government interference is going to lead to manual teaching and ultimately teachers will teach a cookie-cutter curriculum,” said Cesar Chavez, a Democrat for District 29.

Bills are submitted to the Rules Committee before being submitted to the House for a vote of all members.

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