By Christian Ziegler | FloridaGOP Vice Chairman
Governor will play in school board races.
Gov. Ron DeSantis returned to the Fox News Channel Saturday night in a segment taped the evening before, but with a message relevant to the political cycle to come.
On “Unfiltered” with Dan Bongino, DeSantis vowed to turn his “political apparatus” against Republican school board candidates who oppose his educational reforms.
“We’re not going to support any Republican candidate for school board who supports Critical Race Theory in all 67 counties or supports mandatory masking of school children,” DeSantis told Bongino.
“Local elections matter. We are going to get the Florida political apparatus involved so we can make sure there’s not a single school board member who supports critical race theory,” DeSantis added.
On June 10, the State Board of Education will convene in Jacksonville to vote on a proposal that attacks critical race theory and other deconstructions of traditional civics curricula.
The proposal will ban defining American history as “something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.” Teachers will be forbidden also to “share their personal views or attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.”
DeSantis addressed that also, making it clear that Richard Corcoran was his proxy in this key matter.
“Next week I have my Commissioner of Education going to the Board of Education banning it, banning any departure from accurate history and following our standards. This is something we’ve got to stay on the forefront of,” DeSantis told Bongino.
The Governor has offered regular denunciations of critical race theory in previous stops.
“You can put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig,” DeSantis said in Pensacola on May 24. “If we have to play whack a mole all over the state stopping this critical race theory, we will do it.”
The Governor has described schools as “indoctrination factories” and has even likened critical race theory to “Marxism.”
“Critical Race Theory is basically teaching people to hate our country, hate each other. It’s divisive and it’s basically an identity politics version of Marxism,” DeSantis said on Hannity in March.
Florida Board of Education to wade into history debate
By Ryan Dailey
File photo (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
The State Board of Education is set to vote next week on a proposal that would place strict guidelines on the way U.S. history is taught in public schools, but opponents argue the measure threatens to obscure the realities of historical events as part of a “culture war.”
The proposed rule would mandate that teachers “may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.”
It also would require that teachers facilitating discussions couldn’t “share their personal views or attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view” that is inconsistent with state standards.
Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran have touted the proposed rule, billing it as a way to combat “critical race theory” in classrooms. Critical race theory is based on the premise that racism is embedded within American society and institutions.
“The Florida Board of Education is meeting, and they are addressing this,” DeSantis said last month during an appearance in Pensacola. “It’s offensive to the taxpayer that they would be asked to fund critical race theory, that they would be asked to fund teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other.”
Corcoran, at a recent speaking engagement at private Hillsdale College in Michigan, told a crowd that “you have to police” teachers “on a daily basis” to ensure ideas like critical race theory aren’t taught to students.
The State Board of Education is scheduled to meet June 10 at Florida State College at Jacksonville. The proposed rule would be adopted if the board, made up primarily of DeSantis appointees, votes to approve it.
The Florida Department of Education defended the proposed rule in an email to the News Service last week, describing it as “straightforward and populated by widely accepted universal principles of the Socratic method and quality educational processes.”
“It is important to understand that Florida schools are a place that students are taught how to think, not what to think, and discuss the founding principles of our nation, not disseminate propaganda,” the department wrote.
The department also wrote that the proposal “creates a logical means for … great teachers to defend their actions if ever falsely accused.”
Ryan Dailey is a reporter with experience in print and radio, having covered state and local news in Tallahassee since 2014. A graduate of Florida State University, Dailey has been a resident of the capital city since 2012. He joined the News Service of Florida in 2021, reporting with a focus on education and education policy.