On May 5th, 1925, science teacher John Scopes was arrested for violating Tennessee’s newly passed Butler Act, making the teaching of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution a criminal act. The trial, known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, gained worldwide attention as all eyes turned to a small courthouse in Dayton, TN. Two legal giants, former three time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan and famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow, faced off at trial. At the end, Scopes was convicted and sentenced to a fine of $100 in 1925 dollars. And the rest is history.
Subsequent cases about this topic occurred with one reaching the US Supreme Court in 1987 in Edwards v. Aguillard. In this case, Louisiana tried again to outlaw Darwin with different language, asking for balance between Evolution and Creationism. Evolution won again. However, the precedent was set that State Governments can manipulate education policy if they disagree with the things taught.
Fast forward to 2021 here in Arizona. We now have SB1532 which, according to the Arizona Republic, “Arizona teachers could face a $5,000 penalty if they allow classroom discussions on controversial topics such as racism or fail to give equal weight to divisive topics, under provisions of a last-minute amendment that flew through the Arizona House of Representatives on Wednesday.”
Teaching slavery, the Holocaust, the Indian Removal Act, internment of Japanese during WW2, Mylai Massacre, and scores of other acts in our history would be forbidden if Governor Ducey signs it. It targets mostly social studies teachers, who would teach these topics as part of the Arizona State Social Studies Standards requirement to develop critical thought and analysis of events, not just knowing who, what, where, and when. The “how” and “why” could have a social studies teacher facing a $5,000 fine.
Joel John is supposedly a teacher and voted YES in the House for this. Here is a screen-cap of this “teacher’s” anti-teacher vote on the Teacher Gag Bill.
District Four, and Arizona at large, deserve better than a Republican representative who says he is a teacher, then votes to destroy education because the extreme right wing in his Party is offended children may not learn what THEY want them to learn. Joel John is a failure and needs to be replaced. He needs to be replaced with a teacher that puts education first and right wing conspiracy theorists the door they deserve.
District Four needs Aram Katz as its second representative in the Arizona House. Let’s make education destroying Joel John a one term memory on Election Day 2022. You can help by contributing to Katz for House at: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/aram2022.
Join me on the campaign trail. http://www.katzforhouse.org