TUCSON, Ariz.—A proposed state law that would bar public and charter school teachers from discussing “political, ideological, or religious” issues in class has drawn sharp opposition from Arizona teachers. The bill, introduced in late December by state Rep. Mark Finchem, a Republican from the Tucson suburbs, would allow districts to fire teachers for introducing “controversial” issues not related to their subject, or for advocating or opposing any government action—such as wearing the “#RedForEd” T-shirts teachers donned during their campaign for better pay and more school funding last year. “If there’s a political agenda behind it, leave it at home,” Finchem told the Arizona Republic. Rachel Johnson, Arizona Educators United’s teacher representative at a Tucson middle school, told the Arizona Daily Star that she suspected Finchem proposed the measure because after last year’s strike, legislators feel “very threatened by us.” “As a teacher, I’m very careful about what I say in my classroom to my kids about politics,” she added. The bill, she continued, would prevent her from letting her eighth-graders discuss issues they ask about. “It is our job to provide kids with an opportunity to think creatively,” said Jason Freed, president of the Tucson Education Association. Read more


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