The panic over critical race theory is at an all-time high in one of the most likely places on earth, Arizona. The Arizona Department of Education launched a hotline last week for people to report any lessons that use “critical race theory.”
We’re putting “critical race theory” in quotes above because, as people have explained time and time again, critical race theory (CRT) is not being taught in K-12 schools. For anyone needing a little refresher, CRT is a college-level framework acknowledging that racism is deeply embedded in our legal system and policies.
CRT rant aside, what does the hotline actually do? According to the DOE’s website, constituents should report any teaching that focuses on “race or ethnicity, rather than individuals and merit, promoting gender ideology, social-emotional learning, or inappropriate sexual content.”
The initiative comes from Arizona Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, who made his fight against CRT the linchpin of his campaign.
“Race is irrelevant to anything. Critical race theory teaches the opposite, that race is primary. They divide students into ‘oppressors’ and ‘oppressed’ based on what race they were born into, which is irrational,” said Horne in a statement.
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The idea that race is “irrelevant” in the United States flies in the face of pretty much everything we know. (Here are just a few examples of how wrong that statement is in this country).
The CRT Panic Spreads Across the United States
But besides the data that kids could benefit from learning a thing or two about racism, this a massive waste of time. In Virginia, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin had to shut down his CRT hotline because too few people sent in tips.
“The help education email was deactivated in September, as it had received little to no volume during that time,” Macaulay Porter, a spokesperson for Gov. Youngkin, said in a statement to Business Insider.
The CRT panic isn’t isolated to Virginia, Arizona, and Florida. At least 44 states have introduced bills that restrict teaching critical race theory or limit how teachers can talk about racism and sexism, according to Education Week.
Chances are high that Arizona’s CRT hotline will go down in flames like Virginia’s, but in the meantime, it doesn’t look like anti-CRT mania is going away anytime soon.