Arizona Establishes Hotline for Parents to Report CRT, Gender Theory in Schools
As studies confirm the rise of controversial and highly disputed ideas based in critical race theory (CRT) and gender theory in school curriculums, many parents are increasingly concerned about what actions they can take to protect their children. In response to these concerns, Arizona’s school superintendent this week announced the launch of a hotline for parents to report school material that they deem inappropriate.
A recent survey conducted by City Journal of current and recently graduated high school students in America found that strong majorities have been taught CRT and gender theory-related concepts in recent years. “[Sixty-two] percent reported … being taught in class or hearing … that ‘America is a systemically racist country,’ 69 percent reported being taught or hearing that ‘white people have white privilege,’ 57 percent reported being taught or hearing that ‘white people have unconscious biases that negatively affect non-white people,’ and 67 percent reported being taught or hearing that ‘America is built on stolen land.’” Additionally, “51 percent report being taught or hearing that ‘gender is an identity choice’ regardless of biological sex.”
Overall, the study found that the presence of at least one highly controversial idea regarding race or gender is almost universal among U.S. schools. “[Ninety-three] percent of respondents reported either being taught (85 percent) or hearing from an adult at school about at least one of the eight listed concepts, with an average of 4.3 concepts.” Some of the concepts include “There are many genders, not just male and female,” “America is a patriarchal society,” and “In America, white people have white privilege,” among others.
As Arizona Superintendent for Public Instruction Tom Horne described to Tony Perkins on “Washington Watch” Tuesday, the motivation for starting the “Empower Hotline” arose from parents in his state demanding accountability over the dissemination of the contentious curriculum to their kids.
“During COVID, parents were able to see what their kids were learning because it was online and they could see it on their laptops,” he explained. “And they were outraged by what they saw. And they went in large numbers to school board meetings. And these were not people who want to protest. They felt compelled to because they were outraged by what they saw.”
Horne went on to note that the introduction of CRT and gender theory concepts in K-12 classrooms is a modern phenomenon that parents are now becoming informed about.
“This is relatively new,” he observed. “I would say this really began to move forward during the Obama administration, where we saw a lot of these things really percolate downward from Washington as well as coming up from college campuses. I mean, look, parents are paying for education … [with] their tax dollars. Should they not have a voice in what’s happening in the classroom?”
Horne further explained to Fox News that “when we get those calls, we investigate them to see if there’s inappropriate teaching that detracts from academics.”
“We’ve got to get the nonsense out of there, and we’ve got to get the academics up,” he elaborated to Perkins. “The test scores are at the bottom of the barrel under my predecessor, who emphasized things like social emotional learning and critical race theory. I’m emphasizing academics. We’ve got to get the kids to learn more and get their test scores up so that they can compete in an internationally competitive economy.”
Recent trends in test scores across the country bear this concern out. The latest numbers on reading and math scores for nine-year-olds are in historic decline. For schools in Chicago, lawmakers are describing the situation as “very serious,” with 55 schools reporting that zero students were proficient in math and reading. In Baltimore, an additional 23 schools reported that zero students were proficient in math.
Perkins applauded the efforts of Horne in establishing the hotline for concerned parents and called on other states to follow suit.
“I hope other states will take your example and follow it, because we need a way for parents to have input into the process,” Perkins concluded.
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.