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Bill that bans teaching about certain racial issues moves to AZ Senate debate

A billset for Arizona Senate debate may prohibit teachers from promoting or advocating the idea that blame or judgment can be placed on a subject based on race or ethnicity.

Other teachings the bill may ban are that any race or ethnicity is inherently oppressive. Also that any race or ethnic group is morally or intellectually superior to another.

Opponents, like Democratic Rep. Kelli Butler, are concerned that the bill would force the misrepresentation of historical events that happened because of racism, for instance the Holocaust.

“I'm worried, like you are, it's going to create a situation where teachers are just afraid of teaching about anything," Butler said.

But proponents like Rep. Michelle Udall say that concern is misplaced. 

“If a teacher can't teach these things without placing blame or judgment on the basis of race, they shouldn't be teaching. They should not have responsibility for our children if they can't teach without casting aspersions and blame, and promoting and advocating blame based on race," Udall said. 

Other concerns with this bill are that it goes beyond K-12 and into the college realm. But Udall said that restriction applies only to what is in teacher-training programs.

Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.