Florida’s GOP governor, Ron DeSantis, is making additional moves to push back against what he and other Republicans view as harmful countercultural influences from the left being introduced in public schools such as highly divisive critical race theory.
As such, DeSantis introduced a new proposal on Wednesday that opposes the teaching of CRT in Florida’s K-12 classrooms.
The bill is called the Stop W.O.K.E. Act Stop Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees Act, and the governor introduced it alongside Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez and Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran during a live-streamed event in Wildwood, Florida.
“Our legislation will defend any money for K-12 going to CRT consultants,” DeSantis said. “No taxpayer dollars should be used to teach our kids to hate our country or hate each other.”
The governor’s comments also noted that the measure bars teachers and staff from receiving CRT training.
“We’re also not going to allow the staff or employees or teachers in our education system to be subjected to that type of training where they’re forced to sit there and listen,” DeSantis said.
“This is wrong when it’s done to our kids, but it’s also wrong to force employees to have to go through that.”
DeSantis ripped the so-called “woke ideology” he sais seeks to change the understanding of the nation and the Constitution.
“They want to tear at the fabric of our society and our culture,” the governor said. “They want to delegitimize the founding of the country and the Constitution.”
The governor also blasted the term “equity.”
“Just to understand, when you hear equity used, that is just an ability for people to smuggle in their ideology because we don’t need to have these terms,” he said.
“We have a society based on equality, where you’re treated equally. Regardless of your upbringing, regardless of your race, you have the same rights and privileges as anybody else,” DeSantis added.
“Equity is used to put the thumb on the scale in favor of their ideology,” he continued.
In discussing the measure he noted:
I think it’s important to say, what are we doing positively in terms of what we want to be in our schools. I think we’ve done more than any other state to place a renewed emphasis on American civics and teaching kids about the Constitution and what it means to be an American.
And we’ve been able to get requirements back into the high schools, which is very important; we have the ability and we’ll be doing exams when people leave school, which will be like a citizenship exam that naturalized citizens have to take because at the end of the day, everybody that comes through our school system, some of them will go into a variety of different fields but everyone’s going to be an American citizen, and they’re going to have duties and responsibilities. And they need to understand what that means and they need to understand the principles that our country was founded upon.
We also have been able to help teachers; we just launched —and it’s going to come into effect next year — the civics training program, where if you go through it, really get deep knowledge and understanding on the fundamentals, you get a $3,000 bonus.
So we want all our students to understand: why was our country founded? What were some of the key ideas that made us different? For example, our founding fathers said that we are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights.
The rights do not come from government. So these are natural rights, and we create a Constitutional system not to give us rights, but to protect the rights that we already have.
I think what you see now with the rise of this woke ideology is an attempt to really delegitimize our history and to delegitimize our institutions,” he declared. “I view the wokeness as a form of cultural Marxism. … They really want to tear at the fabric of our society and our culture and things that we’ve taken for granted, like the ability of parents to direct the upbringing of their kids.
So this is really, really significant, and when you see these things throughout the country, where they take down a Thomas Jefferson statue in New York City or they take down Abraham Lincoln in Massachusetts or they take George Washington’s name off schools in California, that is an attempt to erase history.
They want to delegitimize the founding of the country and the institutions and they basically want to replace it with a very militant form of leftism that would absolutely destroy this country if that ever took hold.
And so we have a responsibility to stand for the truth, to stand for what’s right. … We have to protect our kids from some very pernicious ideologies that are trying to be forced upon them all across the country.