activists
Arizona Educators Pledged to Teach Critical Race Theory, Regardless of Law or Parental Consent

February 13, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

Over 200 Arizonans who identified themselves as educators have signed onto a pledge to teach Critical Race Theory (CRT) and all other social justice-oriented curriculum to children, regardless of the law or the wishes of parents. They conveyed a unified message: that they desired to teach the “truth” and the “true history” of this country’s history. 

The pledge was created by the Zinn Education Project, a Washington, D.C.-based collaborative effort between Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change. Prominent socialist and author of the anti-American exceptionalism book, “A People’s History of the United States,” Howard Zinn founded the project. Zinn propagated CRT concepts that America suffers from systemic racism, and that its imperialism and capitalism are evil. He also sparked controversy in topics previously associated with American pride by claiming Christopher Columbus was evil, President Abraham Lincoln was indifferent on slaves’ freedom, the Allies and Axis Powers weren’t much different, and that the Vietnam War wasn’t about communism.

The following includes those who signed onto the pledge as Arizona educators:

Avondale: Natalie Cardenas

Bisbee: Etta Kralovec

Black Canyon City: Matthew Schock

Casa Grande: Sharon Tuttle

Chandler: Amy Shinabarger, Angela Thomas, Ann Cicero, Audra Johnson, Beth Herbert, Deanna Celaya, James Wallace, Judith Simons, Julia Palazzi, Melanie Ohm, Rachel Kulik, Shasta Payne, Teri Moser

Flagstaff: Russell Randall, Ricardo Guthrie, Michelle Novelli, Angelina Castagno, Beth Sanborn, Derek Thibodeau, Elizabeth Merrill, Erin Hiebert, Joe Wegwert, Leslie Grabel, Patricia Roach, Sarah Shamah, Stacy Clark, Tami Butters, Yvonne Parent

Fountain Hills: Vincent Sepe

Gila Bend: Josie McClain

Gilbert: Andrea Barker, Cary Tyler, Heather Gossler, Heather Schlemmer, Kaylie Aguilar, Kim Klett, Leda Devlieger, Monica Darugna, Rebecca Garelli, Stefanie Campanella

Glendale: Erin Chisholm, Carlos Velazquez, Craig Lewis, Deanna Bakker, Electra Stafford, Galindo Jack, Jamie Prichard, Kari Vargas, Lisa Cantella, Maggie Malone, Melanie Cobos, Nick Friedman, Rachel Schmidt, Romy Griepp, Valerie Sun

Goodyear: Jill Helland, Catherine Barnett, Nikole Brasch, Susan Hennessy

Laveen: Miguel Ramirez, Nancy Schwartz

Litchfield Park: Melissa England

Mesa: Elisabeth Tanner, Marissa Felix, Quiana Washington, Robin Dodder, Andrea Box, Anica Erickson, Ann Marie Geair, Anne Greer, Christina Bustos, Christina Jameson, Claudia Bloom, Dave Medley, Jacqueline Tambone, Julie Quiroa, Kay Crittenden, Kelly Wright, Kisha Delgado, Michelle Lantz, Paul Kreutz, Quiana Washington, Rachael Clawson, Steve Munczek

Paradise Valley: Justin Brooks

Peoria: Paige DeHaan, Breanna Malmos, Chelsea Charlton, Kaitlin Griffin, Melissa Girmscheid, Stephanie Churchill, Tina Sanders

Phoenix: Karen Hawkes, Susannah Keita, Natasha Alston, Kareem Neal, Admaira Roman, Wilma Rice, Tom Moore, Kerrilee Wing, Sariah Winn, Nishta Mehra, Kelsey Knutson, Courtney Rath, Darcy Heath, Kelly Cutler, David Lee Carlson, Jay Barbuto, Nicolas Culley, Alexandra Zamarron, Alicia Messing, Carla Garcia, Claudia Chiang, Erika James, Ginette Rossi, Janel Vaughan, Judith Robbins, Kelley Gribuski, Kristin Cervantez, Lauren Gaston, Lauren Spenceley-Sheoran, Michelle Schulke, Mike Sarraino, Rodrigo Palacios-Tenorio, Roger Baker, Sarah Bennett, Shana Hornstein, Susan Rego, Tara La O’Garcia

“The thought of censoring the truth of our history in this country at this time in our nation is horrifying. I will not be silenced by frightened white supremist[s],” wrote Karen Hawkes of Phoenix. “We cannot heal and move forward without knowing and understanding the roots of our institutionalized racism.”

Queen Creek: Joanna Auclair

Sahuarita: Dawn Demps

Scottsdale: Louis Sugar, Carole Ancona, Jan Kelly, Kandice Nelson, Mariah Moritz

Sun City West: Harriet Luckman, Stacy Green

Surprise: Jon Alfred, Paula Auble

Tempe: Kelsey McAlarney, Sharon Hansen, Bernadette Lissner, Carol Johnson, Cortney Milanovich, Danielle Degain, Deanna Smith, Dylan Wince, Haylee Newton, Jacob Bley, Jo Anne Craig, Lawdon Haglund, Leslie Ringer, Maren Mueller, Valerie Craig

“All Americans deserve to know the truth about our racist, white supremacist history of violence against BIPOC. I should not have had to have been 66 years old before I confronted this history for the first time,” wrote Sharon Hanson of Tempe. “Although the sins of my forebears are not my personal sins, the current racist situation America IS my problem. America will never move forward until, like Germany, we hold up our ugly past, learn what actually happened (not some whitewashed version of the truth), and endeavor to make reckoning with it all.”

Tucson: Susan Whorley, Katie Vera, Arthur Almquist, Megan Carney, Isabella Porchas, Margaret Chaney, Amber Leeson-Curtis, Lee Foulkes, Peter Blankfield, Julie Elvick, Victoria Bodanyi, Meghan Hipple, Alyssa Cossey, Jenna Brito, Andrea Espinoza, Elizabeth Valenzuela, Jessica Williams, Kari Warner, Kati Gilson, Rita Verdin, Ryan Knst, Adrian Provenzano, Alexandra Mazur, Alison Climes, Ann Marie Palmer, Avis Judd, Barbara Wayne, Brieanne Buttner, Caryl Crowell, Chelsea Forer, Chris Parisoff, Corey Knox, Corina Ontiveros, Devon Holden, Edvina Velagic, Eric Donaghy, Farid Matuk, Jennifer Mullet, Jennifer Quigly, Carole Edelsky, Jessica Bernal Meija, Jim Byrne, Kate Van Roekel, Wes Oswald, Kevan Kiser-Chuc, Kristel Ann Foster, Linda Archuleta, Manuel Palacios-Fest, Mario Garcia, Natalie Taylor, Nataly Reed, Peter Blankfield, Rachael Eggebeen, Rebecca Kristensen, Sheila Wilenksy, Steven Ernsky, Tom McElhaney

“I will not let the white establishment silence me. I will continue to teach an accurate account of history,” wrote Jenna Brito of Tucson. “This includes teaching about how racism, sexism, xenophobia, etc is deeply embedded into our society and how it continues to shape out [sic] experiences.”

Vail: Drew Fellows

Yuma: Dorothy Higuera

At least one Arizona educator didn’t identify their city or town: Andrea Barrera.

It appears that these educators may have some level of support from the state. The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) encourages educators to pledge that they will teach social-emotional learning (SEL), which also propagates social justice concepts including CRT.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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