PHOENIX — A new state-wide hotline could land teachers in hot water for the lessons they discuss inside their classrooms.
Arizona Superintendent of Schools Tom Horne said the Department of Education launched the "Empower Hotline" on Thursday.
"It's time to get people to focus on teaching the academics," Horne said.
Horne said the idea was sparked during the pandemic when parents could see what their kids were being taught while at home. The purpose of the hotline is to allow parents to report their kids' teacher if they don't approve of the lessons that are being taught in school.
Horne gave examples of Critical Race Theory, gender ideology and other "inappropriate school lessons." While Democrats, including Gov. Katie Hobbs, have said CRT is not being taught at Arizona schools, the Republican Horne disagrees.
“Teachers are there to teach the standards the academic standards, and if they abuse their position by using a captive audience of students for them to push their own personal ideology, in my opinion that is unprofessional conduct,” Horne said.
Knowing some may abuse the hotline, Horne said if a teacher is reported the state will launch an investigation into the report.
"There could be false charges made," Horne said. "People could have vendettas or misunderstandings."
However, if an educator is found to have taught something not based in the curriculum, Horne said they will encourage them to stop otherwise they may lose their license.
"In extreme cases, the state board would have the power to take away their certification in which case they would have to be terminated," Horne said.
The program has Democrats concerned. Gov. Hobbs discussed the hotline during a press briefing the same day it launched.
"This is a tool that that doesn't need to exist, and it's just going to create further division," Hobbs said. "I quite frankly, think the superintendent is out of touch of what is really going on in our classrooms."
Hobbs said the focus needs to be on hiring and retaining Arizona teachers as well as funding classrooms.
VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: Los padres en Arizona ahora pueden denunciar a los educadores que enseñan temas que a ellos les preocupan
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