Progressive activists backed by elected Democrats, including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, have been pushing for the inclusion of critical race theory (CRT) in the curriculum of public and private schools and institutions of higher learning.
That effort has been opposed by concerned parents nationwide as well as in Republican-led states, like Arizona, where Gov. Doug Ducey (R) just signed into law a bill that would prohibit the teaching of critical race theory in publicly-funded schools.
CRT posits that the nation was founded on racial discrimination and oppression of non-white minorities and continues to perpetuate such discrimination and oppression through “systemic racism” that is, in turn, maintained through the inherent racism of white people against non-white minorities.
“Protecting Arizonans against divisive and regressive lessons”
In a tweet posted Friday, Gov. Ducey wrote, “Today I am proud to sign HB 2906, prohibiting 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.”
That tweet linked to a press release from the governor’s office noting the “strong action” Ducey and the Republican-led state legislature had taken in the form of two separate bills aimed at preventing the teaching of CRT in public schools and government institutions.
“When I took office, I vowed to use taxpayer dollars responsibly, and funding training on political commentary is not responsible spending,” Gov. Ducey said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Two new laws prohibit CRT from public schools and government institutions
According to the press release, HB 2906 would prohibit the state and 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.”
This bill coincides with another bill Ducey signed into law last week, HB 2898, which “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.”
That bill signed into law last week actually had some teeth to it, as it included provisions allowing for fines of up to $5,000 to be levied against schools that violated the prohibitions.
Bill signed protecting parental right to transparency in school curriculums
Interestingly enough, a separate press release from Gov. Ducey’s office on Friday made note of another bill signed into law aimed at protecting a parent’s right to transparency in terms of school curriculums, and though that bill — HB 2035, which codified into law a prior executive order — was focused largely on sex education, it isn’t much of a stretch to see how it would certainly be applicable in terms of CRT as well.
“Parents should have the right to know what their children are learning in school,” Ducey said in the statement. “This is a no-brainer piece of legislation that protects our children from learning materials that aren’t suited for them. Every family has their own priorities for their children’s education, and parents should get to weigh in.”