It’s always a good day when an elected official holds to his campaign promises. And as the newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne has done just that. During his campaign, Tom said he would make it a priority to stop indoctrination like Critical Race Theory while fighting back against cancel culture and improving student performance. Last week, he took important steps to make this a reality.
Under Tom’s direction, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) has eliminated social-emotional learning (SEL) from its administration. Among his first moves, Tom has not only removed references to SEL, but he has gotten rid of other leftist initiatives from former Superintendent Kathy Hoffman like the division of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion along with sex chat rooms for minors like “Queer Chat.”
But while Tom is working hard to end the woke indoctrination of our students, he’s not stopping there. He’s actually placing a renewed focus on what our schools should be prioritizing: academics. Take the ADE’s recent annual conference for teachers, principals, and other educators, for example. Before the conference, the ADE canceled SEL presentations that had been planned under the previous administration on topics like racial trauma, creating a culture of care, and diversity and equity skills for school leaders. And what did Tom replace them with? Sessions on improving math instruction and how to improve a student’s academic performance.
That should be something we can all get behind, right? After all, data from the National Assessment of Education Progress shows that students in Arizona suffered severe learning losses in math and nominal losses in reading as a result of remote learning during COVID.
But as you might expect, the Left is already in an uproar. Believe it or not, several “education consultants” who had their presentations canceled at the ADE conference actually claimed that it would hurt students. That’s right. They think that replacing SEL training with training on how to improve academic achievement—especially in math—will be harmful to children. You can’t make this stuff up.
These so-called “education consultants” must have missed the part where the majority of Arizona’s students have been failing the statewide assessment. And they must not have been paying attention to the latest ACT scoring data, which shows that the average Arizona student doesn’t achieve an ACT score recommended as a minimum by our state universities. Or maybe they just have their own agenda.
The fact is that SEL has been receiving millions of dollars in funding right here in the state of Arizona. And plenty of our state’s school staff—like counselors—have been trained in its controversial theories and ideologies. But what has that gotten us? Learning loss and lower test scores.
It’s time to purge SEL from our schools entirely and put that money toward students and improving teacher salaries. Our children deserve a real education that gives them the best opportunity for success in the future. Thankfully, Tom Horne is proving he’s the right man for the job.
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