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Over 900 Arizona Schools Refuse To Answer Questions About CRT, SEL Instruction

March 2, 2024

By Elizabeth Troutman |

More than 900 Arizona schools declined to answer if they teach Critical Race Theory. 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne released figures showing that 900 schools would not answer five academic focus questions related to matters such as ensuring schools do not inappropriately expose students to explicit content and avoiding instruction that promotes racial division such as Critical Race Theory.

Of Arizona’s 2,467 district and charter schools, as of Feb. 29, 1,565 have affirmed that they are following these guidelines, but 902 have not.

Other questions attempt to ensure that any sexual content is developmentally appropriate, administrators fully support teacher discipline, and schools avoid excessive distractions such as Social Emotional Learning. 

Social Emotional Learning claims to equip children with the ability to manage emotions, feel empathy for others, and maintain positive relationships, but it integrates Critical Race Theory in the education system.

“It is scandalous to see that more than 900 schools have declined to be transparent with parents who entrust their children to be educated by these schools,” Horne said. “Parents have the right to be fully informed about what their neighborhood schools value and how instructional time is used.”

The media claims public schools don’t teach CRT, Horne said. The superintendent said this is false, as the Balsz Elementary District on the east side of Phoenix explicitly and publicly teaches CRT. 

“The fact that more than 900 districts and charter schools did not answer the question proves that the problem is widespread and distractions from academics are contributing to low test scores,” he said. 

“Every instructional minute is precious, and every minute should be devoted to academics, not unnecessary distractions, lessons that divide people by race, or exposing students to subject matter that is not developmentally appropriate,” Horne continued. 

The schools that declined to answer the questions will have that information on their school report card provided on the department’s website. If schools eventually choose to respond, their report card will be updated with that information. 

Early next week, the department will finish compiling and releasing information on whether schools are following state law that requires instruction on the Holocaust and other genocides. 

“Schools have a responsibility to teach to the state standards and graduating students who are academically proficient,” Horne said. “This is simple common sense and easily achievable by every school in the state.”

Elizabeth Troutman is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send her news tips using this link.

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