Hundreds of Arizona teachers gather in protest of Horne’s ‘Empower Hotline’

More than 100 teachers rallied outside the state Capitol to protest the new, controversial hotline, set up by state superintendent Tom Horne.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:21 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- More than 100 teachers spent the day rallying outside the state capitol. They’re protesting the new, controversial hotline set up by state superintendent Tom Horne. Horne says it’s designed for parents to report teachers for lesson plans they think are “inappropriate.” So teachers want this hotline to be taken down.

Teachers at the rally say critical race theory is not taught in their K-12 schools. They also believe this hotline creates a division between parents and teachers and encourages harassment.

Arizona Education Association President Marisol Garcia says this hotline will only worsen the teacher shortage. She believes Superintendent Horne is bringing politics into the classroom, saying they weren’t there before.

She says teachers have been feeling attacked since the hotline launched. “More and more, there’s a lot of anxiety around the politicization of this. Last week we had school board members being attacked. We had a teacher being attacked at a school board meeting. That is all being compounded with this 1-800 number. This just has to stop,” Garcia said.

On Wednesday, the Arizona Educators Association called on Horne to take down the hotline and asked him to come to tour Arizona’s public schools, saying then he’ll see the resources teachers and students need. “All this is nonsense in my opinion that they’re talking about and they are just ignoring real issues like student needs and teacher pay and infrastructure,” said Angela Gomez, a student teacher.

We reached out to Superintendent Horne for a statement. He said, “parents have a legitimate interest in the education of their children. The Empower Hotline gives parents a chance to communicate with the Department of Education and that is a good thing.”