Teachers rally at Arizona Capitol against Horne’s new prank-prone complaint hotline

Teachers rallied at the Capitol on Wednesday to oppose Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne’s new hotline for members of the public to report “inappropriate lessons.”

By Yana Kunichoff || Arizona Republic

The protesting educators called for the hotline to be shut down and for teachers to be recognized for the difficult work they do in challenging teaching conditions. 

“Things have gotten really bad with COVID especially and the amount of mental health issues,” said Chandler physical education teacher Ashley Gee. “More is piled on teachers and we just need support.” 

The Horne administration announced its “Empower Hotline” last week and told members of the public to report “inappropriate lessons that detract from teaching academic standards.” 

The hotline was a key campaign promise for Horne, who ran on a platform that promised to focus on math and reading instruction and “declare war” on conversations about emotions and identity. 

But teachers who marched Wednesday said the hotline’s broader purpose is increasing mistrust of public schools and making an already difficult job even harder. The hotline isn’t addressing the main concerns they hear from parents, they said. 

Chandler librarian Pauline Gray said she has only had two parents formally inquire about what books are in the library, despite conservative efforts to get some books on race and gender removed from shelves across the country. 

“We’re available to meet with any parents, and answer any parent questions,” Gray said.

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March 2023
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