BRIEF: Protecting Our Founding Principles, Civics Education In Arizona

News Release

July 15, 2022

This week marks a year since Governor Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2241, strengthening Holocaust education for Arizona K-12 students. In addition to this important lesson, Arizona kids who are starting the new school year in just a few weeks will have a robust civics education – thanks to the efforts of the governor.

Since his first day in office, the governor has prioritized civics education to ensure students have a strong understanding of the principles, values and history upon which their government was founded. A strong civics education fortifies a government by the people for the people.

The American Civics Act
In 2015, Arizona became the first state in the nation to pass the American Civics Act, requiring high school students to pass the citizenship test before graduation. It was the first bill Governor Ducey signed.
Since then, many other states have followed suit in requiring that civics education.

The test was bolstered in 2022 by raising the passing score from 60 to 70 percent, allowing middle school students to take the test, and requiring the score data to be made publicly available online.

Sandra Day O’Connor Civics Celebration Day
In 2020, Arizona established Sandra Day O’Connor Civics Celebration Day, a day in which a majority of classroom instruction is devoted to civics education. School districts and charter schools across the state use a wide range of engaging activities during Civics Celebration Day to teach students about civics and highlight O’Connor’s dedication to promoting civics education.

Holocaust Education
Last year, Arizona strengthened education about the Holocaust and other genocides in Arizona’s schools. Due to the legislation the governor signed, young Arizonans learn the enduring lessons of the Holocaust and the tragic consequences of religious and racial intolerance at least twice between 7th and 12th grades.

9/11 Education
This year, Governor Ducey signed legislation to ensure that Arizona kids will learn about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the classroom, delivering on his promise to work with educators and lawmakers to make it mandatory in Arizona’s schools. Each year on September 11, every public school in Arizona dedicates a portion of the school day to observe 9/11 Education Day.