There is a new law working its way through the Arizona legislature, that would forbid teachers from talking about politics in class unless they are teaching a class it’s related to and only if they present both sides of the argument fairly.
Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, has introduced the first education bill of the 2019 legislative session. House Bill 2002 would direct the State Board of Education, that would have write ethics rules for the classroom, including no indoctrinating of school children.
The legislation would also ban talks on religion unless it is part of the lesson and only if all religions are discussed, meaning it will never happen.
HB 2002 would require a new code of ethics that includes several specific provisions forbidding teachers from:
- Endorsing, supporting or opposing any candidate or elected or appointed official.
- Introducing “controversial issues” in class not related to the course being taught. The bill defines “controversial issues” as political platform issues, which could include topics like immigration, abortion, guns and even taxes.
- Endorsing, supporting or engaging in activity hampering or impending a military recruiter’s access to a school.
- Endorsing, supporting or engaging in activity hampering or impending law enforcement activity.
- Advocating for one side of a controversial issue. The code would require teachers to provide students with material educating them on “both sides” of the issue, teaching in a nonpartisan way.
- Segregating students “according to race” or blaming one race of students “as being responsible for the suffering or inequities experienced by another racial group of students.”
Under the proposal, the State Board would develop penalties for violating the code. Punishment would include termination, according to the bill. It would also require a three-hour annual ethics training for all certified teachers.
The bill states that the ethics code would apply to all “certificated” teachers in the state. Not all public school teachers in Arizona are certified: State law doesn’t require charter school teachers to be certified.