New Arizona Law Aims to Require Anti-Communist Civics Education in Arizona High Schools

Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law Friday that requires anti-Communist civics education to be taught in Arizona high schools.

House Bill (HB) 2008 directs the State Board of Education to update its high school social studies academic standards, which only included personal finance and American civics education. The update will consist of a comparative discussion of political ideologies, such as communism and totalitarianism, in opposition to the freedom and democracy essential to the United States’ founding principles.

The bill also touches on developing civic instruction standards for district and charter schools to prepare students to be responsible and knowledgeable adults.

One development is “the civic-minded expectations of an upright and desirable citizenry that recognizes and accepts responsibility for preserving and defending the blessings of liberty inherited from prior generations and secured by the United States constitution.”

The sponsor of HB 2008, Arizona State Rep. Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott) said in a press release, “Having grown up in Vietnam and survived three communist invasions, I have a deep love and appreciation for the United States and its freedoms, which are guaranteed to all. It’s my intent for Arizona’s students to graduate with a similar appreciation for what it means to be an American.

“This civics standards update will help ensure that our students are taught the brutal facts of oppressive communist systems and how they are fundamentally antithetical to America’s founding principles,” he added.

After signing the bill, Ducey said on Twitter that “this bill is another point for Arizona’s strong civics education.”

“Students will learn about other nation’s governing philosophies & form a deeper understanding for the freedoms and rights Americans are guaranteed,” tweeted Ducey after signing HB 2008,” he tweeted.

Arizona Senator Majority Whip Sonny Borrelli (R-Lake Havasu City) spoke in defense of HB 2008 during a recent Senate Floor Session.

“For him [Nguyen] to sponsor this [HB 2008], to say, we need to instill in our children a level of civics, to remind them where we came from, what our history is, good and bad because even the bad we learn from. But to also emphasize on the good of civic involvement. We [the Senate] are all here because of that civic involvement,” said Borrelli. “This is education that really pays dividends to the future of this country. We have to remember the thousands of lives that were sacrificed so that we can stand here today and pass on that gift. Blood is a big expense. And if we don’t cherish the blood that has been spilled on behalf of all of us, we are squandering that inheritance.”

On its initial third hearing, HB 2008 failed to pass the Senate floor. However, on reconsideration, it passed with 16 ayes and 12 nays.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Doug Ducey” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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