House Rules Committee approves bill to limit classroom discussion of race, ethnicity, sex - AZEdNews
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House Rules Committee approves bill to limit classroom discussion of race, ethnicity, sex


Arizona Legislators On The House Rules Committee Meet To Discuss Bills On April 11, 2022. Photo Courtesy Of Arizona Capitol Television

The House Rules Committee gave a due pass recommendation to a bill that would limit discussion of race, ethnicity and sex during classroom instruction, which educators say would make teaching American history and English literature more difficult.

Kimberly Cockrell, who has taught Advanced Placement history courses for years, said her students learn about time periods by using primary sources and have to evaluate authors’ biases and perspectives in an article by The Arizona Republic.

“History is messy, and it’s complicated, and it should be,” Cockrell said in The Arizona Republic article.  “If I’m teaching a version of history that seems really neat and tidy, then I’m not doing the past justice.” 

Senate Bill 1412, sponsored by Sen. J.D. Mesnard, originally would have required the Arizona Department of Education to award a substitute teacher certificate to a person who did not have a college degree but who provides instruction in STEM or career of technical education.

floor amendment by Sen. Mesnard on Feb. 22, 2022 would have required the Arizona Department of Education to award a substitute teacher certificate to a person who held an emergency substitute teacher certificate as of Jan. 24, 2022, and would have waived the certification fee for an applitant for a substitute teacher certificate through the AZ Dept. of Ed-established process.

But SB 1412 is now subject to a strike everything amendment that limits the discussion of race, ethnicity and sex during classroom instruction with the exception of age-appropriate and grad appropriate instruction regarding child assault awareness and abuse prevention, reviving the contents of House Bill 2112, sponsored by House Education Committee Chair Michelle Udall, which would prohibit instruction that places blame or judgement on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex with penalties of up to $5,000 for each instance and the revocation of a teacher’s certificate.

Senate Bill 1412 is also similar to  House Concurrent Resolution 2001, which is still being negotiated in the Senate, but has to overcome some hurdles. If House Concurrent Resolution 2001 was approved by Legislators, a measure to make it a constitutional amendment would be put before voters on the ballot in the general elections in November 2022.

Arizona Capitol Television: House Rules Committee – 4/11/22

House Rules heard HB 2112 in January, and at that time, the committee expressed concern about potential vagueness over breadth of the original language of the bill  then, said the House Rules attorney.

Senate Bill 1412 as amended with the strike everything makes the changes that address those concerns, mainly in that it replaces a prohibition against instruction that presents forms of blame to a prohibition to instruction that promotes or advocates that way and that language tracks with the 2015 circuit case,” the House Rules attorney said.

The strike everything also removes a provision that prohibited the promotion or advocacy of instruction that a student should feel discomfort or blame based on certain characteristics, and adds language that preserves the identification of and discussion of historical movements, ideologies or instances of racial hatred or discrimination, so as written here it doesn’t present the same concerns that we had back in January,” the House Rules attorney said.

The House Rules Committee gave a due pass recommendation to Senate Bill 1412 with a vote of 5 ayes and three nays.

Senate Bill 1412 will be heard next on the House floor. Then it will be heard again in the Senate, since the contents of the bill were completely changed with the strike everything amendment added in House Appropriations Committee.