Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is making a massive move to end the teaching of “critical race theory and other unsubstantiated theories” from his state’s public schools.
DeSantis spoke with the press on Wednesday and delivered an update on the state’s new educational priorities. The governor said that the state’s civic education should focus on “foundational principles” rather than narratives such as critical race theory that views all of history through the lens of race, and suggests that racism still infects almost every institution in the U.S. today.
“Florida civics curriculum will incorporate foundational concepts with the best materials, and it will expressly exclude unsanctioned narratives like critical race theory and other unsubstantiated theories,” DeSantis said.
Critical race theory has gained traction recently, being prominently displayed in The New York Times’ ‘1619 Project,’ which reframed the history of the United States as a country entirely built on slavery rather than on the principles of the Declaration of Independence.
DeSantis continued, “Let me be clear, there’s no room in our classrooms for things like critical race theory. Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money. So we will invest in actual, solid, true curriculum and we will be a leader in the development and implementation of a world class civics education.”
DeSantis has ordered his state Department of Education to develop a Florida Civic Seal of Excellence to be awarded to teachers, along with a $3,000 bonus, who complete a course on teaching traditional American concepts and principles, according to News4JAX.
The governor’s announcement is similar to other moves being made by states and localities to block critical race theory from being taught in public schools.
West Virginia Republicans introduced a bill to the state House last month that would ban the narrative from education curriculum.
The West Virginia legislation banned “divisive concepts” such as “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex,” the “United States is fundamentally racist or sexist,” “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,” and “an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex.”
The bill echoed an executive order issued by former President Donald Trump that sought to purge critical race theory education from the federal government.
President Joe Biden rescinded the Trump order on his first day in office.
Earlier in February, a New York branch of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance denounced critical race theory as “a hateful, divisive, manipulative fraud” and called for it to be expunged from American education and culture.
“CRT appears in our workplaces under the cover of implicit bias/sensitivity training. It infiltrates our schools pretending to be culturally/ethnically responsive pedagogy, with curricula such as the New York Times’ 1619 Project and Seattle’s ethnomathematics. Hate groups, with allies in politics, the press and education, pass CRT off as anti-racism and diversity, equity and inclusion, but CRT is exactly the opposite. From its very roots, CRT is racist, repressive, discriminatory, and divisive,” an open letter by the group said.
“We need to recognize CRT through its fraudulent packaging, call it out, resist. Parents need to watch for CRT in schools, talk to each other, and organize,” the letter continues.
“On the political front, President Trump issued an executive order to ban CRT indoctrination at the Federal level. President Biden rescinded that order upon taking office, so our best hopes now rest with the states, several of which have proposals to ban CRT indoctrination.”