Governor Ducey, Legislature Take Strong Action To Stop Critical Race Theory

News Release

July 9, 2021

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today took a decisive step to prohibit the concerning practice of critical race theory, the latest action in just the past week to prevent the teaching of critical race theory in Arizona public schools and other government entities. Together, these measures mean Arizona has implemented some of the best policies in the country to keep critical race theory out of Arizona classrooms and our government institutions.

“When I took office, I vowed to use taxpayer dollars responsibly, and funding training on political commentary is not responsible spending,” Governor Ducey said. “I am not going to waste public dollars on lessons that imply the superiority of any race and hinder free speech. House Bill 2906 goes a long way towards protecting Arizonans against divisive and regressive lessons. My thanks go out to Representative Udall, Representative Hoffman and Senator Livingston for their leadership on this legislation. Here in Arizona, we’re going to continue to be leaders on civics education and teach important lessons about our nation’s history.”

The Governor today signed House Bill (HB) 2906, which prohibits the state and any local governments from requiring their employees to engage in orientation, training or therapy that suggest an employee is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously. 

Governor Ducey’s signing of HB 2906 builds on the actions he took against critical race theory when he signed HB 2898 last week. That law ensures that students cannot be taught that one race, ethnic group or sex is in any way superior to another, or that anyone should be discriminated against on the basis of these characteristics. The law allows a fine of up to $5,000 for schools that violate the law.

“This first in the nation legislation banning critical race theory at all levels of government makes Arizona the national leader in combating this divisive curriculum,” Representative Jake Hoffman said. “Arizona stands with Martin Luther King Jr.’s proclamation that people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, and I’m grateful for the support of Governor Ducey and my colleagues in passing this important legislation.”

“We should be focused on bringing people together, not pushing people apart,” Representative Michelle Udall said. “Critical race theory will do nothing but increase divisiveness in our communities, which I think we can all agree we should try to prevent. I appreciate the support of my colleagues and the governor for passing this legislation.”

In 2015, Arizona became the first state in the nation to pass the American Civics Act, which requires high school students to pass the citizenship test before graduation. It was the first bill Governor Ducey signed upon election.

In 2018, Governor Ducey signed legislation creating the American Civics Education Pilot Program for high schoolers. Students in the program take at least one semester of an American civics course and take an assessment at the end.

In 2020, Governor Ducey signed legislation that declares September 25 in Arizona “Sandra Day O’Connor Civics Celebration Day” — a day in which a majority of classroom instruction is devoted entirely to civics.

###